Ohio Summer Library Program

Children and teens who participate in summer library programs benefit from engaging activities and opportunities which promote literacy development and can help to counter summer slide. Summer library programs for all ages enhance lifelong learning and provide meaningful, enjoyable experiences available to everyone in the community. The State Library is proud to support libraries in this endeavor.

Find information here about the 2021 “Tails and Tales” Collaborative Summer Library Program theme and materials, plus general summer library program (SLP) opportunities and resources.

The 2020 Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation Report is available for download. It is also available to be read on screen in a digital magazine format.

In response to the public health emergency, libraries revised and adapted their 2020 SLP plans to accommodate current safety practices and requirements. While the public health situation in summer 2021 is as yet unknown, assistance and support is available here, including links to webinar recordings to help you plan in a time of pandemic, a special resource packet from the CSLP, (2021 version coming in early April!) and links to tips and ideas  from colleagues around the country.


The 2021 CSLP program theme is Animals and Stories, and the slogan for all ages is “Tails and Tales.” The 2021 CSLP program features artwork by Salina Yoon. Let all the beasts, birds, and fishes help you create a memorable 2021 SLP using the resources on this site and your CSLP program manual. Explore the wild side of summer, and happy planning!

Early Literacy Program Children’s Program Teen Program Adult Program


The Ohio State Fair, the Ohio Renaissance Festival, and the Armstrong Air and Space Museum support Ohio public libraries’ summer programs with free incentives for Ohio SLP participants. Any Ohio public library may distribute these incentives. Availability of statewide incentives is announced on Ohio library listservs including Library Youth Services, OPLINlist, and SmLibs.


Check out a wide variety of Resources to help you plan and present your SLP.  Be an advocate and share the benefits of summer reading using Research and Best Practices. Learn how libraries can support the well-being of children and end child hunger in Ohio by participating in the Summer Food Service Program.


Individual public library employees from member states are encouraged to register on the CSLP website. There is no charge to register. Registered members have access to the online version of the CSLP manual (which is the version being made available to libraries for 2021 through the IMLS-funded statewide purchase), an editable modular version of the new resource packet, user-created reading logs, handouts, and program ideas, and additional graphics and other “extras” to enhance SLP. Go to www.cslpreads.org and click on “Login” at the top of the page, then click on “Register” to complete the registration form. Registration requires approval, so you will not be able to access the members-only resources until you receive an email from CSLP acknowledging your membership. This usually takes no more than a day or two.  General information about CSLP and its programs is available through the CSLP website without registration.

Note: CSLP art/graphics are copyrighted for exclusive use by CSLP members and are used by permission.  All public libraries in Ohio are CSLP members. Please review and be aware of the CSLP Rules of Use, which changed significantly in 2019.

If you have questions about CSLP materials or rules of use, or need any support or assistance with your SLP, please contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer, library consultant for youth services at the State Library of Ohio at 1–800–686–1532 or jdwyer@library.ohio.gov.

Ohio SLP Evaluation Reports

The 2020 Summer Library Program Evaluation Report describes how Ohio public libraries supported their communities safely and thoughtfully during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Click here to view, download, and print the report in single page format.

Click here to view the report in a digital magazine format.

The report describes innovations, challenges, successes, and lessons learned by libraries around Ohio during a summer unlike any other. Statewide participation totals were not compiled for 2020 and are not included in the report.

The 2019 Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation report, the 2018 Ohio Summer Reading Program Evaluation report and the 2017 Ohio Summer Reading Program Evaluation report are also available for download.

Upcoming CSLP programs

2022: Theme is Oceanography. Slogan “Oceans of Possibility.” Artist is Sophie Blackall.
2023: Theme is Friendship and Kindness. Slogan “All Together Now.”  Artist is Frank Morrison.
2024: Theme is Adventure. Slogan to be determined in fall 2021. Artist is Juana Martinez-Neal.

Ohio’s four Regional Library Systems offer Summer Library Program workshops in support of public library SLPs. The State Library of Ohio is pleased to sponsor the workshops.

Summer Reading Workshop Series
Thursdays in March and April, 2:00-3:00 pm

This series of 1-hour presentations hosted by SWON Libraries will cover programming, partnerships, books, and more. Sessions take place over 6 Thursdays in March and April. Attend the sessions that interest you or attend the entire series. Registration for individual sessions is $5-15; for the series is $20-40. An opening session on Thursday, March 4 is free for everyone. SWON will also offer open discussion sessions on Wednesdays. See the SWON website for details and registration.

These free webinar recordings, including some created in response to the public health emergency, may be of interest. While new webinars are being added, webinars from 2020 remain available, as much of the information remains relevant in 2021.

CSLP 2021: Tails and Tales

This webinar from the Indiana State Library succinctly covers CSLP news and updates, lessons from 2020, program planning resources, and program ideas in just 52 minutes! Some content is Indiana-specific, but most is entirely applicable to Ohio libraries.

NCompass Live: Summer Reading Program 2021: Tails and Tales

Get ready for summer by learning about quality books to consider for your library’s collection and start planning for Tails and Tales. Presented by the Nebraska Library Commission.

Summer Reading 2020: Planning in a Time of Pandemic

This webinar from the Indiana State Library guides library workers through the different decisions to be made in summer 2020, and to offer some “starting place” ideas, but also to affirm that SLP is just very different for now and that is OK.

2020 Summer Planning Webinar

The Massachusetts Library System produced this webinar to help librarians recreate summer reading for 2020. A companion Google folder contains the slides and many other resources, including a collaborative brainstorming document open to contributions.

CSLP 2020: Imagine Your Story

The Indiana State Library produced this webinar for public library staff serving any age. The session includes program ideas for preschool, children, teen, and adults. Attendees at the original live webinar also shared their own program ideas, which were added to a Program Idea Sheet available on the webinar page.

Summer 2020 Programming Ideas

This recorded webinar from the Colorado State Library reviews the CSLP manual and related resources, and includes programming ideas for all ages.

Imagine Your Story: Ideas & Tips from the Library of Michigan’s Youth Services Advisory Council

Your peers in the field share programming ideas and tips for the CSLP 2020 “Imagine Your Story” theme, from early literacy through teens.

2019 Summer Reading Reflection Webinar

Reflections on 2019, and looking forward to 2020, including an overview of changes to the Collaborative Summer Library Program’s manual, storefront, and rules of use. From the Montana State Library.

Summer Reading Outcomes

An hour-long webinar from the California Library Association on how to plan and present an outcome- and outreach-based SLP/SRP.

Summer Reading mini-tutorials

Micro-trainings from the Arizona State Library. While some are specific to Arizona libraries, more general topics include using CSLP resources and demonstrating the value of summer reading.

Find additional information and content on our Resources page.


Explore these Summer Library Program resources and enjoy planning! New resources to support planning SLP during the public health emergency have been added at the top of this list.

  • In 2020, the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) created an additional resource packet for libraries including ideas from several CSLP manuals adapted for current needs. It contains six weeks of content highlighting early literacy, children, teens, adults, and families. The materials are divided by age group. They may be distributed directly to patrons as printed packets or online. All activities provided are intended for patrons to do at home and are little to no cost. The resource also contains ideas and tips for libraries about outreach, partnerships and collaboration, incentives, and summer meals. Download the packet (PDF) at https://cslpreads.org. A new packet for 2021 will be available in early April 2021!
  • This Summer Reading Ideas – Alternate Service Models document was compiled by the youth services consultants at state libraries around the USA.
  • OPLIN’s Online Programming Database for Public Libraries is a one-stop for libraries to share their program ideas and how-tos, and to find programs (with instructions!) submitted by other Ohio libraries.
  • The Massachusetts Library System created a 2020 Summer Planning collection of program ideas for all ages.
  • Virtual and Offline Programming for Summer and Beyond – a 5/6/2020 post on the excellent Youth Services Shout-Out: YSS Blog from Wisconsin.
  • Frequently Asked Questions – about CSLP themes, manuals, and rules of use, incentives, Ohio resources, and more.
  • Summer Food Service Program: How Libraries Can Help – information on how libraries can participate in this USDA program and help eliminate child hunger in Ohio while boosting SLP participation and engaging new library users. Also check Libraries and Summer Food, a how-to guide from the CSLP.
  • Read Up! A mini-manual for summer feeding sites is a 26-page PDF for SFSP sites outside of libraries. It features easy-to-implement enrichment activities that support reading, creativity, and fun. Libraries are encouraged to share this resource with local feeding sites to give them tools and ideas for integrating literacy enrichment programming.
  • Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) homepage
  • CSLP’s Social Media Toolkit for the “Imagine Your Story” program includes sample social media posts to use throughout the year.
  • The official CSLP Pinterest page – a growing collection of ideas for Tails & Tales, and ideas for past and future programs as well.
  • Ohio Youth Services Performers’ Showcase – links to area performers who offer SLP bookings.
  • The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) sponsors Summer Learning Week, a celebration dedicated to advocacy and awareness, and promotes investment in summer learning throughout the year to help close the achievement gap.
  • Summer Learning Resources from the Urban Library Council (ULC) in partnership with the NSLA, including a resource guide, strategies, examples of successful programs, and research reports.
  • Libraries at the Center of Summer Learning and Fun: An Online Toolkit to Expand from Summer Reading to Summer Learning (PDF), a project of the ULC and NSLA partnership, helps libraries to make the case for summer learning programs and to evolve their practices of summer reading into summer learning.
  • Summer Reading Outreach Guidebook (PDF) from the Idaho Commission for Libraries – a resource and best-practices guide for planning outreach activities; some information is Idaho-specific but most is applicable anywhere
  • Early Literacy and Summer Reading Ideas from Oregon Libraries (PDF) – a compilation of good ideas, proposed by public librarians, for enhancing SLP/SRP programming and helping to meet education goals, such as family engagement and reading comprehension.  The ideas can be implemented or adapted anywhere.
  • CSLP Partners are organizations aligned with CSLP’s work and supportive of library summer reading activities. are organizations aligned with CSLP’s work and supportive of library summer reading activities. These include Bedtime Math, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, STAR_net, and Read Aloud 15 Minutes. These partners offer free resources to CSLP members.
  • iREAD summer library program resources coordinated by the Illinois Library Association. iREAD’s 2021 theme is “Reading Colors Your World.”

Research and Best Practices

Summer library programs (SLPs) encourage children and teens to practice reading and literacy skills, and other academic and life skills, during out-of-school time. This can help maintain academic proficiency, and keeps young brains active throughout the summer.  SLPs offer enriching activities for the entire family and community.

When you promote your SLP to stakeholders, funders, and the community, lead with the message that your library’s summer activities and opportunities support student learning and family engagement. These links to research and best practices will help you make the case:
  • The vision of the National Summer Learning Association is for every child to be safe, healthy, and engaged in learning during the summer. The NSLA connects summer learning program providers and stakeholders with tools, resources, and expertise to improve program quality, generate support, and increase youth access and participation.
  • Accelerate Summer: A Partnership for Learning is an IMLS-funded collaboration of the NSLA and the Urban Libraries Council to research how public libraries are delivering summer learning activities. The findings point to the importance of participatory activities, community engagement, partnerships, and support from local officials.
  • Adopting a Summer Learning Approach for Increased Impact: a YALSA Position Paper is a 2016 publication that calls on libraries to “expand their efforts beyond summer reading in order to identify and meet the particular needs of the youth in their community”, including building workplace skills, improving English language skills, and offering safe spaces for creativity
  • PA Public Libraries SummerQuest,  an initiative of participating Pennsylvania public libraries and the State Library of Pennsylvania, is a summer learning program that helps libraries to create interest-based, experiential, fun summer programming that encourages all participants to learn, grow, and have fun over the summer.
  • The Collaborative Summer Library Program’s Summer Reading White Paper (PDF), updated in 2015, considers the state of research on SLPs, their effectiveness and best practices.
  • Summer Reading Best Practices from the Rhode Island Office of Library & Information Services gathers timely ideas on program planning, incentives, burnout prevention, and more.
  • Components of High-Quality Summer Reading Programs, a list from the Youth Services Best Practices for Oregon Libraries blog.
  • Summer Reading Programs, a LibGuide from the American Library Association, includes a section on research and a section on the benefits of SLPs.
  • Summer Reading from Reading Rockets provides information about summer reading and summer learning loss, including tips for parents as well as resources for teachers and librarians.
  • How to Create a Knockout Summer Literacy Program by Karen Springen (School Library Journal, March 17, 2014) discusses planning, outreach, collaboration, and appropriate, literacy-related incentives. According to the article, “Many librarians are combining … inventive activities with statistic- and research-based initiatives that track summer reading outcomes. They’re aiming to redress a serious problem: the achievement gap that especially hurts lower-income kids, who typically lose two months of reading proficiency per summer, according to research.”
  • Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement by Lauren Barack (School Library Journal, February 12, 2014). This article reports on a pilot study in Missouri that suggests summer reading programs raise student reading levels in the fall, particularly among at-risk kids.
  • Summer Reading and the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap: An Educator Responds to Questions, a June, 2013 School Library Journal interview with Richard L. Allington, co-author of Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap. Allington argues that the main cause of the rich/poor reading achievement gap is unequal access to books. He urges librarians to get books into the hands of children from low-income families, especially during the summer.

What are the upcoming Collaborative Summer Library Program themes?

The 2021 CSLP program theme is Animals and Stories, and the slogan for all ages is “Tails and Tales.” Salina Yoon. is the artist for the 2021 program.
2022: Theme is Oceanography. Slogan “Oceans of Possibility.” Artist is Sophie Blackall.
2023: Theme is Friendship and Kindness. Slogan “All Together Now.”  Artist is Frank Morrison.
2024: Theme is Adventure. Slogan to be determined in fall 2021. Artist is Juana Martinez-Neal.

What do I have to do to use these themes?

Every public library in Ohio is a member of the CSLP and is eligible to use the shared themes and related materials if desired. Each fall, every public library receives a program manual and themed artwork in electronic format.  These manual sets are provided to Ohio public libraries at no cost to the libraries. This service is supported in whole by Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA funds granted through the State Library of Ohio.

Any staff member at an Ohio public library may register with the Collaborative Summer Library Program to access additional resources online.

Do I have to use these themes?

No Ohio public library is obliged to use CSLP themes. Libraries are welcome to create their own themes and artwork if they prefer. Some Ohio libraries develop their own Summer Library Program (SLP) theme each year. Some occasionally use the CSLP theme and occasionally craft an independent theme. Some have used the iREAD SLP program themes and materials (note that purchase of iREAD manuals is at the discretion of the library and is not subsidized by LSTA funds). However, the majority of Ohio libraries use the CSLP theme each year.

Every Ohio public library receives the CSLP manual, at no cost to the library (see above under “What do I have to do to use these themes?”). Libraries that choose not to use CSLP themes may still use and benefit from the programming ideas and other resources included in the CSLP manual.

Regardless of SLP theme or materials used, every Ohio public library may take advantage of SLP resources provided by the State Library of Ohio, Ohio’s Regional Library Systems, and partnering agencies, including statewide incentives, workshops, and all materials posted to this website.

What is the Collaborative Summer Library Program?

The CSLP is “a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries”. Read more about CSLP.

As an Ohio public library staff member, you may sign up for a free account on the CSLP website. This will let you access organizational information and download resources including the online product catalog, graphics, signing videos, PSAs, and more.

CSLP includes representation from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and the Mariana Islands.  This is the sixteenth year that Ohio has been a member of CSLP.

When and where do the SLP workshops take place?

The four regional library systems (NEO-RLS, NORWELD, SERLS, and SWON Libraries) offer SLP workshops for librarians to share ideas for programs, crafts, decorations, and more.  The workshop schedule is updated when additional workshops are announced.

Where do I order theme prizes and incentives for 2021?

A catalog of graphics, incentives, and other products for “Imagine Your Story”, using Salina Yoon artwork , is available online: http://shopcslp.com.

In 2019, CSLP ended its relationship with an exclusive vendor for products, and is now working directly with a contracted design house. Only CSLP artwork appears on all products in the CSLP catalog.

Where else may I order incentives for 2021?

For summer reading incentives not affiliated with the CSLP, you may purchase from your preferred seller of promotional products, any dollar store, novelty store, school supply store, or other vendor. Please be aware of the CSLP Rules of Use when considering custom items. See “May I use the artwork to make t–shirts or other products to sell to patrons?” below.

You may also solicit donations from local and area businesses for SLP incentives and prizes. Additionally, any statewide discount coupons available may be used by any Ohio public library. Availability of statewide incentives will be posted to Ohio library listservs and to the Ohio Summer Library Program page.

Please see “A Guide to Getting Started” in the 2021 CSLP online manual for more ideas on incentives, including a sample letter for soliciting donations from local businesses.

What is the deadline for ordering materials from the CSLP catalog?

Place your order by December 1, 2020 for delivery by March 1, 2021.
Place your order by January 1, 2021  for delivery by April 1.
Place your order by March 1, 2021 for delivery by May 1.

Is the artwork available online?

Yes, the entire manual and all exclusive artwork are available to public libraries online as well as on the CSLP manual USB flash drive available for purchase through the CSLP catalog.  Instructions for accessing the online manual and artwork were emailed to a youth services point person at each Ohio public library in October 2020. Contact jdwyer@library.ohio.gov with questions. Additionally, approved logos and certain other images are available on the “Manual Downloads: Additional Program Tools” section of the section of the CSLP website (login required).

Please read the CSLP Rules of Use regarding use of CSLP artwork. The Rules of Use have changed significantly in 2019. Please review the rules even if you have read them before!

May I use the artwork to make t–shirts or other products to sell to patrons?

From the CSLP Rules of Use: “Because CSLP relies on sales from its catalog to fund future programs, member libraries are strongly encouraged to purchase products provided by CSLP. In cases where existing products do not meet member’s needs, or where custom items are desirable, member libraries will need to seek permission from CSLP to create customized items. A licensing fee may be charged, depending on number, and type of item produced. Please contact the CSLP national office to request permission to create custom items at contact@cslpreads.org.”

Please note that requirements regarding custom items changed in fall 2019, as CSLP has ended its relationship with an exclusive vendor and is now retaining ownership of all art provided by the artists to CSLP for its programs. Libraries now have more flexibility in use of the CSLP artwork. For example, libraries may now use CSLP artwork and slogans on all paper items created in-house or through other vendors, without seeking permission from CSLP.

If you have any questions at all about the CSLP Rules of Use or use of the artwork, please contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer at 1–800–686–1532 or jdwyer@library.ohio.gov.

May I resell products purchased from the CSLP catalog?

You may resell products purchased from the CSLP.  Such sales must be solely for the purpose of supporting the charitable or educational purpose of your library.

I work at a school.  How can I get a CSLP manual and participate?

Only public libraries are included in CSLP membership and have the rights and responsibilities of members, including use of the CSLP manual and artwork.  The CSLP manual is not available to schools. However, a public library may partner with a school or other organization, and the partner organization may use CSLP artwork on its promotional materials supporting the library summer reading program.  See the CSLP Rules of Use for “Third Parties” for details.

I did not receive a manual. How can I obtain one?

To update your address, or if you did not receive an access code for the online manual, contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer at 1–800–686–1532 or jdwyer@library.ohio.gov. If you need a USB or paper manual, you may purchase them from the CSLP catalog.

I want a USB or paper copy of the manual. How can I obtain one?

For 2021, the State Library is providing access codes to the online CSLP manual to all Ohio public libraries.  This service is supported in whole by Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA funds granted through the State Library of Ohio. The manual is also available in USB and paper formats. Any library may purchase paper manuals (with artwork on USB) from the CSLP catalog  for $23 each, or the complete manual on USB for $12.50 each.

My question isn’t addressed here. What should I do?

Contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Library Consultant at the State Library and Ohio’s state representative to CSLP, at 1–800–686–1532 or jdwyer@library.ohio.gov.