Imagine your story!

Ohio Summer Library Program

Children and teens who participate in summer library programs benefit from engaging activities and opportunities which promote literacy development and 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 2020 “Imagine Your Story” Collaborative Summer Library Program theme and materials, and general summer library program (SLP) opportunities and resources.

Through the 2020 Summer Library Program (SLP) LSTA Grant, Ohio libraries may apply for up to $1500 in federal LSTA funds to support their SLP. Applicants must provide a 25% local financial match of the total project cost. Libraries may use the awarded federal funds to purchase program materials, supplies, and/or contractual services for the activities offered to the community during the 2020 SLP. The application deadline is February 7, 2020.

The 2019 Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation report will be posted here in early 2020. The Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation report describes participation, practices, innovations, and results around the state. Download the 2018 report here.


The 2020 CSLP program theme is Fairy Tales/Mythology/Fantasy, and the slogan for all ages will be “Imagine Your Story.” The 2020 CSLP program features artwork by LeUyen Pham. This is the first time that artwork for all age groups, early literacy through adult, was created by the same artist. Imagine the future, explore the past, and share stories as you create a memorable 2020 SLP using the resources on this site and your CSLP program manual. Unleash the magic— happy planning!

Early Literacy Program
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.

Ohio Renaissance Festival coupon order forms and Armstrong Museum coupons are now available for 2020. If you work at an Ohio public library that will distribute any or all of these incentives, contact to obtain them.


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 CSLP product catalog and to additional graphics and other “extras” to enhance SLP. Go to 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. 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 have changed significantly for the 2020 program year.

If you need an extra CSLP manual, 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

Ohio SLP Evaluation Report

Ohio’s public libraries’ SLPs positively impact hundreds of thousands of individuals statewide. The 217 library systems responding to the 2018 Ohio SLP Evaluation survey reported a total of 484,593 people participating in 2018, including 331,770 children, 56,523 teens, and 96,300 adults.

Survey respondents also reported total attendance at SLP-related library events of 1,139,960, including 752,189 attendees at children’s programs, 71,967 at teen programs, 116,805 at adult programs, and 198,999 at all-ages programs. 146 public library locations in 49 systems served as open sites in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.

The 2019 Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation report will be posted in late 2019.

The 2018 Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation report describes participation, practices, innovations, and results around the state.  Download it here.

Click here to download the 2017 Ohio Summer Reading Program Evaluation report  or find it on pages 10-13 of the winter 2018  issue of the Ohio Libraries Quarterly.

Upcoming CSLP programs

2021: Theme is Animals. Slogan “Tails and Tales.” Artist is Salina Yoon.
2022: Theme is Oceanography. Slogan to be determined in fall 2020. Artist is Sophie Blackall.
2023: Theme to be determined in fall 2020. Slogan “All Together Now.”  Artist is Frank Morrison

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. Any Ohio public library worker is welcome to register for any SLP workshop statewide.

Unless otherwise noted, these in-person workshops focus on planning and producing SLPs for children through age 12, and much of the content relates to the CSLP theme. Get ideas for games, school visit and decoration ideas, crafts, and suggestions for preschool, toddler, and school-age programs. Enjoy networking and giveaways.

Registration is open for these workshops:

Friday, January 31Children’s and Teen Summer Reading Workshop – State Library of Ohio, Columbus (SERLS)
This workshop will feature separate tracks for age-specific programming, plus full-group sessions on decorating, performers, and other general topics.

Tuesday, February 6Teen Summer Reading Workshop – Stark County District Library (NEO-RLS)

Thursday, February 13Adult Summer Reading Workshop – Wood County District Public Library, Bowling Green (NORWELD)

Thursday, February 27Children’s Summer Reading Workshop  – Centerville Library (SWON Libraries)

Thursday, March 5Children’s Summer Reading Workshop – SERLS Offices, Wellston (SERLS)

Friday, March 13Children’s Summer Reading Workshop – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Bowling Green (NORWELD)

Additional workshops for the 2020 program year are in development and will be posted here when announced. A link to register will be added when registration is open for each workshop. Workshops will also be announced on various Ohio library listservs and newsletters, including the Library Youth Services list.

These free webinar recordings may be of interest:

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!

  • Frequently Asked Questions – about CSLP themes, manuals, and rules of use, incentives, Ohio resources, and more.
  • 2020 Summer Library Program (SLP) Grant  – Ohio Libraries may apply for up to $1500 in federal LSTA funds to support their SLP, and need to provide a 25% local financial match of the total project cost. The application deadline is February 7, 2020.
  • Ohio SLP Community Connections – establishments and attractions around the state that align with each year’s CSLP theme. The 2020 Community Connections list will feature entities related to storytelling, folklore, fantasy, and more. It will be posted in December 2019.
  • 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.”
  • 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 Imagine Your Story 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 2020 theme is investigation and exploration: “Dig Deeper: Read, Investigate, Discover!”

Research and Best Practices

Summer library programs (SLPs) encourage children and teens to practice reading and literacy skills during out-of-school time, which can help maintain proficiency and counter the “summer slide” (term for a decrease in reading proficiency of students who do not read during 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.
  • The Value of Summer Reading, a research compilation from the California Library Association covering the importance of SLPs and the value of reading, resources relating to summer learning loss, and information on generating results that will demonstrate the impact of your SLP.
  • 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 2020 CSLP program theme is Fairy Tales/Mythology/Fantasy, and the slogan for all ages will be “Imagine Your Story.”  LeUyen Pham is the artist for the 2020 program. This is the first time that artwork for all age groups, early literacy through adult, was created by the same artist.
2021: Theme is Animals. Slogan “Tails and Tales.” Artist is Salina Yoon.
2022: Theme is Oceanography. Slogan to be determined in fall 2020. Artist is Sophie Blackall.
2023: Theme to be determined in fall 2020. Slogan “All Together Now.”  Artist is Frank Morrison

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 manual set in electronic format, full of ideas and resources on the shared theme.  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 2020?

A catalog of graphics, incentives, and other products for “Imagine Your Story”, using LeUyen Pham artwork , is available online: You must be logged in to the CSLP website to view the catalog. If you don’t have a CSLP login, go to and click on “Login/Register” at the top of the page, then click on “Register” to complete the registration form.

Paper catalogs will be distributed with the 2020 CSLP Manuals. If you need an additional paper catalog, contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer at

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 will appear in all products in the CSLP catalog. There are fewer products overall than in the past, but more unique products.

Where else may I order incentives for 2020?

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 2020 CSLP manual for more ideas on incentives, including a sample letter for soliciting donations from local businesses.

What is the deadline for ordering materials from Demco?

Place your order by December 1, 2019 for delivery by March 1, 2020
Place your order by January 1, 2020  for delivery by April 1.
Place your order by March 1, 2020 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 or DVD.  Instructions for accessing the online manual and artwork will be shipped with your 2020 manual mailing. Contact 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”

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

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, or I need another copy. How can I obtain one?

To update your address, or if you did not receive a manual, contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer at 1–800–686–1532 or

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

The State Library provides manuals to Ohio public libraries in each library’s choice of formats: online, USB, DVD.  This service is supported in whole by Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA funds granted through the State Library of Ohio. The paper manual costs more than the electronic formats and is not available under the LSTA grant. However, any library may purchase paper manuals from CSLP catalog  for $23 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