Collaborative Summer Library Program Banner - Universe of Stories

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 2019 “A Universe of Stories” Collaborative Summer Library Program theme and materials, and general summer library program (SLP) opportunities and resources.

The 2019 Ohio Summer Library Program Evaluation survey is now open. All Ohio public libraries are asked to complete this survey. Your response helps ensure high-quality resources and support for future SLPs, and helps document the value and impact of summer programming at Ohio public libraries.

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


The 2019 CSLP program theme is Space, and the slogan for all ages will be “A Universe of Stories.” 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The 2019 CSLP program features artwork by Leeza Hernandez (children’s and early literacy programs), Antonio Caparo (teen program), and Larry Jones (adult program). Explore the wonders of space and create an out-of-this-world 2019 SLP with the resources on this site and your CSLP program manual. Let your imagination take off and your creativity fly. Happy planning!


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 State Fair coupons and Armstrong Museum coupons are now available for 2019. 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 additional graphics and other “extras” to enhance SLP. Go to and click on “Login/Register” at the top of the page. 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 by Upstart 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. A video tutorial, How To Put CSLP Artwork on a Cake, introduces the Rules of Use and explains how libraries can use the CSLP licensed artwork on communications, incentives – and even cakes.

If you need an extra CSLP manual, have questions about CSLP materials or rules of use, or need any support or assistance with your summer reading program, please contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer, library consultant for youth services at the State Library of Ohio at 1–800–686–1532 or

Ohio SLP/SRP 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 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.

The 2016 Ohio SLP/SRP Evaluation report appears in the 2016 Year in Review issue of the Ohio Libraries Quarterly. A companion video report is available on YouTube.

The 2015 Ohio Summer Reading Program Evaluation report is available in the 2015 Year in Review issue of the Ohio Libraries Quarterly. A companion video report is available on YouTube.

Upcoming CSLP programs

2020: Imagine Your Story (theme: Fairytales/Fantasy/Mythology; artist: LeUyen Pham)
2021: Tails and Tales (theme: Animals; artist: Salina Yoon)
2022: All Together Now (theme: Changing the World; artist: Sophie Blackall)

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.

All workshops for the 2019 program year have taken place.

If you were unable to attend a workshop, or wish to explore additional content focused on planning and producing a Summer Library Program, these free webinar recordings may be of interest:

A Universe of Stories – 2019 Summer Reading Programming Ideas
A 64-minute recording from Library of Michigan. Programming ideas for early literacy, children’s, and teen programs.

CSLP 2019: A Universe of Stories webinar
A 50-minute recording from the Indiana State Library. Introduces the 2019 “A Universe of Stories” CSLP theme, manual, and artwork for all ages.

Summer Library Program 2019: Children’s Manual Review
Series of 6 brief videos (one-hour total runtime) from the State Library of Iowa. Covers CSLP children’s manual and resources, and programming ideas and tips.

Summer Library Program 2019: Early Literacy Manual Review
Series of 6 brief videos (one-hour total runtime) from the State Library of Iowa. Covers CSLP early literacy manual and resources, and programming ideas and tips.

Summer Library Program 2019: Teen Manual Review
Series of 6 brief videos (one-hour total runtime) from the State Library of Iowa. Covers CSLP teen manual and resources, and programming ideas and tips.

Summer Library Program 2019: Adult Manual Review
Series of 6 brief videos (one-hour total runtime) from the State Library of Iowa. Covers CSLP adult manual and resources, and programming ideas and tips.

2019 Summer Reading Program webinar
A 39-minute recording from the New Mexico State Library. First 12 minutes are specific to New Mexico libraries; advance to 12:00 to pick up the webinar where material of national interest begins. For Ohio SFSP information:

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.

Find additional information and content on our Resources page.


Explore these Summer Library Program/Summer Reading Program resources and enjoy planning!

  • Frequently Asked Questions – about CSLP themes, manuals, and rules of use, incentives, Ohio resources, and more.
  • A Universe of Stories from STAR Net – a collection of STEM activities for all ages, to facilitate your 2019 summer program planning. Many include how-to videos and educators’ guides. STAR Net is a project of the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning.
  • Need to brainstorm ideas for programs, decorations, or publicity for your 2019 SLP? This list of space-related terms and phrases, compiled by Aimee Adams, is full of clever prompts to spark creativity.
  • Ohio SLP Community Connections – establishments and attractions around the state that align with each year’s CSLP theme. The 2019 Community Connections list features space-related opportunities throughout Ohio.
  • 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 the Lunch at the Library toolkit from the California Summer Meal Coalition and California Library Association.
  • Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) homepage
  • The official CSLP Pinterest page – a growing collection of ideas for A Universe of Stories and ideas for past and future programs as well.
  • Ohio Youth Services Performers’ Showcase – links to area performers who offer SLP bookings.
  • 2018 CSLP Manual Overview webinars produced by the State Library of Iowa. Four one-hour webinars cover the early literacy, children’s, teen, and adult “Libraries Rock!” manuals. 2019 webinars will be linked here when available.
  • CSLP Program Manual Webinars -two on-demand webinars highlighting the 2018 Children’s and Early Literacy program manuals. These webinars are pre-recorded, but you can still ask questions using the “Submit a Question” links. 2019 webinars will be linked here when available.
  • Libraries at the Center of Summer Learning and Fun: An Online Toolkit to Expand from Summer Reading to Summer Learning,  a project of the Urban Libraries Council and the National Summer Learning Association, 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.
  • Allies and Resources of the CSLP 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, Inquire Within from PBS, and Read Aloud 15 Minutes. Several offer free resources or discounted services to CSLP members.
  • iREAD –  “It’s Showtime at Your Library!” (summer library program resources coordinated by the Illinois Library Association)

Research and Best Practices

Summer library programs / summer reading programs (SLPs/SRPs) 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” (the documented decrease in reading proficiency of students who do not read during the summer).  SLPs/ SRPs offer enriching activities for the entire family and community.

When you promote your SLP/SRP 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.
  • Urban Library Council’s Summer Learning Publications  include a toolkit, Libraries at the Center of Summer Learning and Fun, and publications on expanding opportunities and on assessing summer learning programs.
  • 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 that encourages children, teens, and adults 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/SRPs, the effectiveness of SLPs/SRPs, and best practices.
  • The Importance of Summer Reading, a discussion of public library summer reading programs and learning from the New York State Library.
  • 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 summer reading programs and the value of reading, resources relating to summer learning loss, and information on generating results that will demonstrate the impact of your summer reading program.
  • Summer Reading Programs, a LibGuide from the American Library Association, includes a section on research and a section on the  benefits of SLPs/SRPs
  • 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.
  • Evaluating Summer Reading Programs: Suggested Improvements by Joe Matthews is an article originally appearing in the journal Public Libraries in 2010. It summarizes research about summer school programs and summer library programs, and offers recommendations including focusing on children at risk of summer learning loss, and partnering with local schools to assess the impact of the SLP/SRP.

What are the upcoming Collaborative Summer Library Program themes?

The 2019 CSLP program theme is Space, and the slogan for all ages will be “A Universe of Stories.” 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  Leeza Hernandez is the artist for the children’s and early literacy program. Antonio Caparo is the artist for the teen program, and Larry Jones is the artist for the adult program. Here are the slogans, themes, and artists for upcoming programs:

2019: Theme is “Space.” Slogan is “A Universe of Stories.” Artist is Leeza Hernandez.
2020: Theme is “Fairy tales/Mythology/Fantasy.” Slogan to be determined. Artist is LeUyen Pham.
2021: Theme is “Animals.” Slogan to be determined. Artist is Salina Yoon.
2022: Theme to be determined. Slogan to be determined. Artist is Sophie Blackall.

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 Program (SLP) theme each year. Some occasionally use the CSLP theme and occasionally craft an independent theme. Some have used the iREAD SLP/SRP 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/SRP theme or materials used, every Ohio public library may take advantage of SLP/SRP 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.

This is the fourteenth year that Ohio has been a member of CSLP. 46 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and the Mariana Islands are members of CSLP. Additionally, libraries in California, Illinois, Minnesota, and Virginia are members in part.

When and where do the SLP workshops take place?

The four regional library systems 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 2019?

Demco is the official provider of graphics, incentives, and other products for “Libraries Rock!”, using artwork from the program illustrators. Ordering information and pictures are available through the online catalog:

Paper catalogs were distributed with the 2019 CSLP Manuals. If you need an additional paper catalog, contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer at

Where else may I order incentives for 2019?

For summer reading incentives not affiliated with the CSLP, you may 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, statewide discount coupons from the Armstrong Air & Space Museum, Ohio State Fair, Ohio State Parks, and Ohio Renaissance Festival are available to any Ohio public library. Learn more here.

Please see the 2019 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, 2018 for delivery by March 1, 2019
Place your order by January 1, 2019  for delivery by April 1.
Place your order by March 1, 2019 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 were shipped with your 2019 manual mailing. Contact with questions. Additionally, approved logos and certain other images are available on the “Proprietary Downloads” section of the CSLP website (login required).

Please read the CSLP Rules of Use regarding use and distribution of the Summer Reading Program artwork.

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

Generally no… The artwork is copyrighted and its use is guided by the CSLP Rules of Use. You may not use it to produce items that are similar in function to products offered in the CSLP/Upstart catalog, unless Upstart and CSLP agree.  If you wish to produce a custom item that is not similar to anything in the catalog, Upstart has the right of first refusal. Please see the CSLP Rules of Use regarding vendor products and custom items Please see the CSLP Rules of Use regarding vendor products and custom items. A video tutorial, How To Put CSLP Artwork on a Cake, introduces the Rules of Use and explains how libraries can request permission to use the CSLP licensed artwork on communications, incentives, and other items.

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/Upstart catalog?

You may resell products purchased from the Upstart CSLP incentive catalog.  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.  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?

The State Library of Ohio has extra manuals. To update your address, or if you did not receive a manual, contact Janet Ingraham Dwyer at 1–800–686–1532 or

The Teen Video Challenge is a Collaborative Summer Library Program-sponsored competition for teens to create videos that promote reading, libraries, and the annual CSLP theme. Starting in 2019, competition will be national rather than state-by-state. Instead of state winners, there will be 5 national Teen Video Challenge winners. Each of the 5 winning teens/teen teams will receive a $200 cash prize and the winners’ local libraries will each receive a $50 gift certificate from Demco/Upstart.

The contest will accept submissions June 1-Aug 2, 2019, so that the program can be incorporated into summer programs. It’s also a great opportunity to partner with schools with video production classes or clubs; students can produce the videos as a class project and submit them in June.

The CSLP Teen Video Challenge website has all the information and resources you need to promote the contest to your teens, and the entry form and contest rules for teen participants.

From 2012 through 2016, one video created by a teen or group of teens was selected each year as the Ohio winner in the national CSLP Teen Video Challenge. Ohio did not participate in 2017 and 2018.

The 2016 Ohio winner is “Get in the (Hunger) Games – Read!”, created by participants of the Teen Advisory Board at the Wright Memorial Public Library.
Check out all the 2016 state winners on the CSLP website.

The 2015 Ohio winner is “Groovy Groo and the Book Muncher” created by students at West Branch High School to benefit the Sebring Branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. Check out all the 2015 state winners on the CSLP website.

The 2015 Ohio runners-up include “Phantom of the Library”, by teens supporting the Wright Memorial Public Library, and “READ!”, by a teen supporting the Evergreen Community Library.

The 2014 Ohio winner, “Super Readers“, was created by Port Clinton High School Digital Media students to benefit the Ida Rupp Public Library. 2014 Ohio runners-up include “Knowledge is Power“, produced by teens at the Stark County District Library, Plain Branch, and “Libraries Spark Reactions“, produced by teens at the Mercer County District Public Library. These videos promoted the “Unmask!” theme.

The 2013 Ohio winner, “Beneath the Surface“, was created by teens at the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library TAB. Teens around the country were challenged to create videos promoting the “Beneath the Surface” theme.

The 2012 Ohio winner, “It’s In Your Heart“, was created by patrons of the Evergreen Community Library and was featured among the state winners promoting the “Own the Night” theme.