Something New for Summer Reading

This year, in an unprecedented show of solidarity among the county libraries, the Allegheny County Library Association delivered the first-ever virtual summer reading program. Not knowing what to expect and having no other programs to model after, summer of 2020 could be considered a success in collaboration and a lesson in virtual programming.

Summer Reading logoThe 2020 Allegheny County Virtual Summer Reading Program would not have been possible without these libraries. Each of these libraries contributed one or more programs during the eight-week session, in addition to their own programming. Here are some statistics for the top library-led programs:

  • Stylin’ Secrets, led by the Western Allegheny Community Library was the most viewed library-led program of the summer with 328
  • The all-ages storytime led by Springdale Free Public Library was the library-led program of the summer with the most engaged users, 39.

The theme for 2020 should have been collaboration. Not only did the libraries come together to provide a first-of-its-kind summer reading program, these organizations also all contributed. All learning together about presenting in a virtual world. Here are some statistics for the top organization program:

  • The Skins & Skulls program led by the Allegheny County Parks was the most viewed partner-led program of the summer with 1,246
  • The program also had the most engaged users with 138.

Summer reading starting as children wrapped up distance learning and virtual burnout was real. The goals for programs and posts was to provide short videos, ideas for family engagement and as many resources as possible for parents during a summer like no other. The feedback, although limited, really showed the importance of offering a program even if it was anything but normal.

  • “It has given us so many different and unique things to do during this very strange time.”
  • “This week was a little difficult for us to complete but I finally let my son up long enough to stargaze and he hasn’t stop talking about it so in the end it all worked out.”
  • “We love this summer program, and it is giving us great ideas to pass the quarantine time.”

With summer 2020 wrapped up, libraries are already planning on how they will provide programming and support to schools and parents assisting with distance learning. Stay tuned for more exciting virtual opportunities from ACLA and the county libraries in the coming months!