NYPL will begin giving away 500,000 books for New Yorkers to keep on June 9, along with a series of fun, free programs to keep kids and teens engaged while they’re out of the classroom

The New York Public Library is the hottest place to be this summer.

NYPL (which serves the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island) is launching “Summer at the Library” today, offering New York kids, teens, and their families a series of free programs at its 92 locations to entertain, spark a lifelong love of reading and learning, and help students combat “summer slide”—when they forget what they learned in the summer months while outside the classroom. 

A full list of free programs and offerings—ranging from baby lapsit programs to arts and crafts for teens—can be found at nypl.org/summer.

A centerpiece of the summer festivities is a big-time book giveaway: the Library is distributing 500,000 new, quality, librarian-approved books—for families to keep. The books are available at any NYPL branch or, in some cases, at outdoor programs happening in parks and in other locations. New Yorkers are eligible to receive books to keep—giving them the opportunity to start or build on their home library—by visiting their local library branch, where they can sign up for a library card, participate in branch programs, or browse and borrow millions of books titles (with no fines: the Library eliminated late fines in 2021). Select locations will offer Spanish, Chinese, and Large Print titles to keep.

The Book Giveaway is supported in part by the Gray Foundation.

“New York City students and families have been through so much over the last two years. It’s critical that, during this period of recovery and renewal, our ecosystem of learning do all it can to support and engage them,” said Brian Bannon, NYPL’s Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education“Public libraries are uniquely positioned to do this while students are out of the classroom over the summer months, providing quality, free programs to engage their minds while also getting them excited about books, reading, learning, and their communities. After so much time apart, it’s time to safely come together this summer.”

Bannon, the Library’s chief branch librarian, added, “We are particularly excited about the book giveaway this year. There is evidence that being surrounded by books in one’s home positively impacts literacy levels, including kindergarten preparedness. So in addition to loaning millions of books, we are giving families the opportunity to keep titles in their homes, building their own learning libraries and a deeper connection with The New York Public Library. We hope to see everyone in one of our branches soon.”

In addition to the book giveaway, highlights of Summer at the Library programming include (with all details at nypl.org/summer):

  • Make Waves—Summer Reading and Learning for Kids and Teens: The Library’s annual youth reading campaign, sponsored citywide by the New York Life Foundation and others, provides school-aged children with programs, activities, and educational challenges over the summer. Specifically:
    • Kids are challenged to read for 20 minutes a day (and log it to earn badges). Special activity and reading trackers, complete with stickers to help track milestones, are available for pickup in branches.
    • Kids are also encouraged to participate in a writing contest; winners earn prizes including a trip to Yankee Stadium to be honored on the field before a game.
    • Teens get their own essay contest; 25 winners will be featured in the Library’s new teen magazine this fall and receive $100 gift cards. 
  • Reading Recommendations: To get New Yorkers started on their summer reading journey, NYPL’s expert librarians have put together a new list of “staff picks”: over 100 summer reading recommendations for kids, teens, and adults. The books can be found at nypl.org/summer.
  • Outdoor Pop-Up Programs: The Library is hosting storytimes and outdoor reading rooms in parks, laundromats, outside of branches, and in other outdoor spots this summer, bringing the experience of the library outside their walls. For example, on June 18 the Library will hold storytimes and do library card sign-ups in Central Park as part of the city’s Adventures NYC program. Additionally, the Library’s bookmobiles will be active throughout the summer, visiting various communities with books to borrow. 
  • In-Branch Programs: The Library is offering hundreds of programs and classes—from baby lapsit programs to storytimes to teen podcasting workshops and more—all summer long. Additionally, the Library’s LIVE from NYPL series is hosting a citywide summer dance party in August; more information on that to come.
  • Programs for Grown-Ups: In addition to the hundreds of programs the Library always offers adults—technology training, job search help, ESOL and citizenship classes, author talks, etc.—there are some summer-themed programs available at branches across the system this summer, with limited book giveaways. 

The Book Giveaway is supported in part by a generous grant from the Gray Foundation. 

Major support provided by the New York Life Foundation, the 2022 city-wide sponsor for the Summer Reading and Learning Programs.

Additional support is provided by The Rona Jaffe Foundation; New York Yankees Foundation; anonymous donors; and the continuing major support of the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Family Endowment for Young Audiences. 

Major support for educational programming is provided by Merryl H. and James S. Tisch.

About The New York Public Library

For over 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 18 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.