The library is so much more than books. Summer reading programs at public libraries (this year’s theme is Ocean of Possibilities) offer creative, fun and FREE ways to build a love of reading. Libraries offer prizes for meeting reading goals, activities in person and online, and opportunities to explore attractions in Atlanta and around the state.

Find your nearest library at Learn more about the Summer Reading Program at

Read on the Go.

Summers are a busy time for families with travel, camps, sports and more. If you didn’t check out enough books for your trip, take advantage of your library’s digital check out for audio and e-books. Whether your child is listening to an audiobook on a road trip, reading an e-book on a device, or going through a stack of picture books on a camping trip, books are the perfect companion to many summer activities, and libraries are making it easy to track reading goals. In addition to traditional paper reading logs, you can take advantage of Beanstack, a digital platform that helps kids track their reading and earn badges by engaging in a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities. It’s a great companion to the traditional paper reading logs and lets kids earn prizes through the Summer Reading Program.

Visit Area Attractions.

Did you know your family can check out library passes for free admission or parking to places like the Georgia Aquarium, various museums, Zoo Atlanta, state parks, and the Go Fish Education Center? Through partnerships with organizations across the state, Georgia’s public libraries provide families with educational and recreational opportunities to spend time together while saving money.

Attend a Show or Activity.

Libraries bring in talented performers during their Summer Reading Programs, so be sure to check their schedule to take advantage of free puppet or magic shows, STEM activities, gardening and even cooking. If you’re wondering if a program is right for your family, call your library for more information and safety guidelines.

For families who want to take a more cautious approach, many libraries offer curbside pickup, craft kits-to-go, STEAM kits, reading subscriptions, virtual programs, book clubs and online music classes. Most libraries also will provide outdoor story times and performances.

Learn Something New.

Summertime can be a great time for kids to explore a new skill or even learn an instrument. Libraries offer items for checkout beyond books and movies, everything from sewing machines to Snap Circuit kits to ukuleles!

Express Creativity.

Enjoy summer and year-round programming for every type of kid. Children can express their creativity at one of the many library makerspaces in the area. These activities encourage engagement and critical thinking as they help children learn about robotics, engineering, cooking, electronics and more. Many libraries offer story times in multiple languages, early literacy activities for preschoolers and programs to engage youth in everything from gardening to encouraging reluctant readers. If a child has special needs, ask about services the library offers for children with visual or hearing impairments.

“Public libraries are the perfect intersection of imagination, curiosity and wonder for children. Every summer, for a few short months, we have the opportunity to shape the trajectory of a child’s life through reading and imaginative play that will bring them back year after year for a lifetime,” said Evan Bush, youth services director at Georgia Public Library Service.

Summer reading isn’t just for kids though. Public libraries have robust programs for young adults and adults as well. You’d be surprised at some of the activities and prizes offered for adult readers. When you participate, you get the added bonus of becoming a reading role model for your children.

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