Photo: Jonathan Blanc / NYPL.

The age-specific kits—which include books and other goodies for New Yorkers aged 0 to 17 to keep them engaged over the summer months—are available while supplies last at all NYPL branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island

The New York Public Library is giving a gift to the families of New York City this summer: 60,000 bags filled with books, activities, Play-Doh, stress balls, and more to keep kids and teens engaged over the summer months.

The “Summer Book Kits” will be available while supplies last at all NYPL branch locations beginning on Monday, July 12 (NYPL serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island). To ensure as many families as possible get access to the kits, they are limited to one kit per child.

There are six different kits, tailored to kids of different ages:

  • Babies and Toddlers (Early Literacy): Includes a special NYPL tote bag containing NYPL’s ABC Read with Me in NYC board book, and a bilingual early literacy tip sheet for caregivers.
  • Pre-K through 1st Grade: Includes a red drawstring bag containing two free books to take home and keep, NYPL’s Summer Learning 2021 welcome kit, and the NYPL After School Activity Guide for Grades K–3 (28 pages, English/Español).
  • 2nd and 3rd Grade: Includes a red drawstring bag containing two free books to take home and keep, NYPL’s Summer Learning 2021 welcome kit, and the NYPL After School Activity Guide for Grades K–3 (28 pages, English/Español).
  • 4th and 5th Grade: Includes a red drawstring bag containing one free book to take home and keep, NYPL’s Summer Learning 2021 welcome kit, and the NYPL After School Activity Guide for Grades 4–6 (16 pages).
  • Middle School: Includes a red drawstring bag containing one free book to take home and keep, a special NYPL bookmark, one container of Play-Doh, and a stress ball.
  • High School: Includes a red drawstring bag containing one free book to take home and keep, a special NYPL bookmark, one pot of Play-Doh, and a stress ball.

The goal of the giveaway is to keep kids and teens engaged with fun educational activities over the summer. For kids, this is critical, as they are susceptible to “summer slide,” or the loss of knowledge gained over the school year while they are out of the classroom. For teens, it is important for the Library to offer tools they can use at home to help them cope, destress, and recharge following a difficult period of isolation and change. 

In addition to the kit giveaway, the Library is also offering a wide range of activities to support families this summer—including virtual summer campa Summer Learning reading challengetake-home activities, and other programsFor information on all of the Library’s summer offerings for New York City families, visit nypl.org/summer.

“The Library has always played a critical role in the lives of New York City families over the summer, and this year, it feels even more important, as students went through unprecedented change and challenge,” said Emily Nichols, NYPL’s Associate Director of Children’s Services. “We need to make sure we’re using our expertise to support them, including and especially families on the wrong side of the digital divide, who can’t access e-books or web-based learning programs. To give them books and activities to take home is so important, and we hope to see as many families as possible in our branches.”

“Teens are encouraged to visit the Library to Read & Recharge this summer,” said Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, the Library’s manager of Young Adult Education Programming. “We’re thrilled to have young people back to reconnect with their community, their peers, and the many resources of the Library in a safe, welcoming space. Teens can learn more about opportunities available to them by following their local branch on social media.”

The New York Public Library reopened all of its remaining locations to near pre-pandemic service on Tuesday, July 6. The system had been reopening in phases and operating with partial service since July 2020 following a temporary closure of physical locations in March 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re so happy to be serving the people of New York City in-person again,” Nichols said. “This moment has been a long time coming. We hope families visit their local branches, say hello to the librarians who missed them, pick up their kits, and maybe check out a few other books, too. Libraries have so much to offer, and we look forward to serving our communities all summer and beyond.” 


About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support. 

Video: Jonathan Blanc / NYPL.