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New Jersey Libraries Summer Reading Programs for Kids

Currently updated to reflect 2021 New Jersey Libraries summer reading programs.

New Jersey Libraries summer reading programs are a great way to motivate your children of all ages to prevent brain drain!

Many local libraries follow the same theme and offer programs all summer long. Theater, live animals, reading challenges and more are all part of the summer reading fun. Keep reading for details but remember to always check our calendar for the latest summer reading program events.

The 2021 New Jersey statewide summer reading theme is “Tails and Tales”.

As a middle schooler in the summer time I liked nothing better than going to the Hickory Corner Library and getting a huge stack of books to take home that was so large a librarian would have to help me carry them out. Now with having two kids I am once again going home from our local library with large stacks of books for them to read.

signage for New Jersey libraries summer reading programs

My kids love the summer reading program. Even if your child is not already a big reader this program really helps to motivate them to read more until it becomes a force of habit and they enjoy it for themselves. Once they are used to immersing themselves into new worlds it is unlikely that they will stop doing so.

Different libraries have different prize options but the main prize they always pick are books. We now have so many from the past few years that they are enough to fill a small bookcase.

Aside from the prizes, what my kids actually love the most are the special events. My daughter still talks about seeing a T-rex, the Trenton Thunder mascot Boomer and making her own spaceship from 2 years ago.

Bordentown library summer reading program space crafts

The New Jersey Summer Reading Committee helps to maintain a directory of performers, ideas for kids activities, discounts for summer reading prizes and more which help all of our libraries implement their awesome summer reading programs. Be sure to take advantage of signing up for your local library’s summer reading program.

Even though not all libraries are back to their full schedules yet most are still offering curbside pickup on most days and you can always borrow ebooks from your library as well.

tween reading a book while lying on a school bench

Read on to find your county for summer reading information. Many counties have a county library system, but for those which don’t, please check your individual library for participation. After reading that go to the bottom of this article to see answers to most Frequently Asked Questions about summer reading.

New Jersey Libraries Summer Reading Programs

New Jersey Libraries Summer Reading Programs

The summer reading program at the Atlantic County libraries

  • Currently there are no updates on if the summer reading program is happening this year. The libraries said more information about whether it will still occur will be forthcoming in the upcoming weeks.
  • Currently the Atlantic County public libraries are not holding in person events. See their Youtube channel for virtual storytime.
  • For more information check the Atlantic County Library System website.
  • Visit our Atlantic County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries. Currently there are no in person events scheduled.
  • Grab & Go Crafts are available for pick-up at certain Atlantic County Library branches.

The summer reading program at the Bergen County libraries

  • The dates begin on June 18th for the Tenafly library, individual libraries may vary.
  • Bergen County is part of a library consortium of libraries in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic Counties. To see a list of Bergen County library location websites visit their website.
  • The reading program ends on August 13th for the Tenafly library.
  • Special events include Backyard Bird Watching with the Tenafly Nature Center, Paka the Puppy Picnic, Zoom events and more.
  • For more information check the BCCLS website.
  • Visit our Bergen County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Bergen County Library summer reading program for?

The summer reading program is for kids, teens and adults of all ages. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is no set number of books that need to be read. The number of books read will correlate to the amount of prizes that can be won. 

What can readers win for participating in the Bergen County Library Summer Reading program?

Readers can win books as well as raffle tickets for larger prizes at the Tenafly library. At the Lodi Memorial Library there are a variety of different sized toys that can be won. Prizes vary by library location. 

How do I register?

Call your individual library to learn registration details.

The summer reading program at the Burlington County libraries

  • The summer reading program begins June 21st, 2021, individual libraries may vary.
  • The reading program ends August 14th, 2021.
  • The 2021 Summer Reading Program is virtual and done entirely through Beanstack. Sign up for the program at this website https://bcls.beanstack.org/reader365.
  • Special events including two virtual Turtle Dance Music shows, a virtual Mr. Scott the Music Man show, virtual Baby Ballet and virtual Stories of Sweden’s Wild Animals.
  • For more check the Burlington County Library System website.
  • Visit our Burlington County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Burlington County Library summer reading program for?

This summer reading program is for all ages (including adults). If you have baby books that are read to them those are counted as well towards summer reading. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is not a minimum number of books. Up to 200 books that are logged will count towards earning virtual badges. Activities also count towards badges. 

What can readers win for participating in the Burlington County Library Summer Reading program?

This year there will be no prizes given for the Summer Reading Program. Virtual badges will be earned.

Virtual badges can also be earned by doing activities as well. These can be great to try doing on a rainy day in the summer with your children. 

How do I register? 

Go to this website to register through Beanstack: https://bcls.beanstack.org/reader365. Contact your local branch if you need help registering. 

The easiest way to track books read is by downloading the Beanstack app onto your phone. It lets you log books very easily since you can even take pictures of the ISBN to track book reading. 

What other information should I know?

Books you log can also count towards the 1,000 Books before Kindergarten program as well so make sure to register for both programs. 

Curbside pickup is being offered for books at the Burlington County Library, Bordentown Library, Cinnaminson Library, Evesham Library, Maple Shade Library and the Pemberton Library. For more details on this process visit https://www.bcls.lib.nj.us/curbside-pickup

For programs at the Burlington County Library they will mostly be held at their large outdoor amphitheater. There is a storybook walk that is set up along the pathway leading you to the the amphitheater. 

storywalk at Burlington County Library

Burlington County also offers programs throughout the year at their libraries. Some of our favorites in the past have been the Eclipse Party, the Academy Awards Party and the Thanksgiving Parades at the Main Branch. We have also really enjoyed the STEAM classes at Maple Shade as well as the Cinnaminson Dance Parties. 

In previous years some of our favorite events were the T-rex, the Space themed Turtle Dance Music Show and seeing Two of a Kind perform some innovative music.

dinosaur at Burlington County Library summer reading program event

This is a calendar showing all of their special events that will be occurring this summer. 

Calendar of Burlington County Library virtual events for kids

The Moorestown Library

The Moorestown Library is not a part of the County System. Information for its summer reading program can be found at http://www.moorestownlibrary.org/kids/summer-reading/. It will be from June 18th to August 28th for preschoolers to adults. Registration is through READSquared. They have started doing Pop-up Outdoor Storytimes.

n reading a star wars comic book
Enjoying a Star Wars Comic Book

The summer reading program at the Camden County libraries

  • The Camden County libraries summer reading program begin June 28th, 2021, individual libraries vary.
  • The reading program ends on August 7th, 2021.
  • Special events include Going Wild in the Jungle with Mr. Don Dougherty on July 15th, Virtual Tales & Tails Tuesdays: Center for Aquatic Sciences.
  • For more check the Camden County Library System website
  • Visit our Camden County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Camden County Library summer reading program for?

Their summer reading program is for infants through adults. It is broken up into four programs for Early Readers, Elementary Readers, Middle and High School Readers as well as Adult Readers. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There are seven levels where milestones can be reached in the Camden County Library summer reading program. To reach the first level in order to receive a prize, one hour of reading needs to be completed. Prizes are awarded for up to twenty hours of reading. For adult readers prizes are not awarded with each badge so people should check with their local branch for which prizes and drawings are offered. 

What can readers win for participating in the Camden County Library Summer Reading program?

Readers can win various prizes such as small toys, book giveaways and gift certificates. 

How do I register?

Register for the program on the Camden County Library website. The link should be up soon closer to the start of the Summer Reading program. Registration can also be done via paper in the libraries. 

What other information should I know?

Details for this program can be found here: https://read.camdencountylibrary.org/about

Cherry Hill Public Library

The Cherry Hill Public Library is not associated with the County. Information about its summer reading program can be found here: https://chplnj.org/srp2021.

The summer reading program at the Cape May County libraries

  • The reading program begins on June 28th, 2021.
  • The reading program ends on August 27th, 2021.
  • Special events will be virtual such as the Tale of Rainbow Lizard on July 14th. Special Events will also be outdoors such as Storytime at the Cape May County Zoo on July 1st.
  • For more check the Cape May County Library website
  • Visit our Cape May County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Cape May County Library summer reading program for?

This program is for infants, kids, adults and teenagers. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is no minimum number of books. Reading is logged through Beanstalk. Everyone will obtain points for logging minutes spent reading (5 minutes of reading = 1 point), logging library events they attended, writing book reviews and completing activities. The points earned will then be entered into drawings for prizes. 

What can readers win for participating in the Cape May County Library Summer Reading program?

Children and teens who participate receive a free book at the end of the summer. At registration kids also receive a few different things such as brag tag necklaces, bookmarks and coloring pages. There will also be prize drawings during the summer towards which participants can put their points earned. 

How do I register? 

Register through Beanstack via this website: https://cmclibrary.beanstack.org/reader365. People can also register through paper logs obtained at CMCL branches starting towards the end of June.

The summer reading program at the Cumberland County libraries

The Cumberland County Library is a stand-alone library that does not have any branches. The other libraries in the County will likely have their own summer reading programs. Visit their websites for more information.

  • Programs begin on July 6th, 2021.
  • The reading program ends August 14th, 2021.
  • Special events will be outdoors and include things such as a magician on July 10th, 4H Bike Rodeo on July 15th and an indoor comedy show on July 22nd. 
  • For more check the Cumberland County Library website
  • Visit our Cumberland County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Cumberland County Library summer reading program for?

The summer reading program is for infants through adults. 

How many books does my child need to read?

Reading books for the program enables participants to win prizes. 

What can readers win for participating in the Cumberland County Library Summer Reading program?

Prizes will be coupons and gift cards donated by local establishments. These include Wendy’s, Campani’s Legacy Lanes, and Applebee’s.

How do I register?

Registration will be online through Readsquared. Registration can also be done via phone but books will need to be logged with Readsquared or in person. 

What other information should I know?

This is the current information we know for libraries in Cumberland that are not part of the County System:

The Bridgeton Public Library

The Bridgeton Public Library will be having a summer reading program that starts on June 29th. For more information visit their library page at https://bridgetonlibrary.org/. They also put information on their Facebook page

Millville Public Library

Currently there is no information as to whether the Millville Public Library is having a summer reading program. For the latest information visit their website at https://www.millvillepubliclibrary.org/. The library just started an expansion and renovation on June 5th. 

Vineland Public Library

The Vineland Public Library website currently has information for a Vineland Public Schools Summer Reading Program: http://www.vinelandlibrary.org/. There will be a virtual program held in concert with the Cumberland Public Library on July 13th and 20th at 2 pm called Drawing Impossible Animals with Cartoonist Rick Stromoski.

The summer reading program at the Essex County libraries

  • Some libraries in Essex County are part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System and there are other libraries that are not part of this system
  • Programs begin as early as June 21st. Individual libraries will vary. 
  • The reading program ends on August 7th. Individual libraries will vary. 
  • Special events have not yet been determined but they will offer virtual and outdoor events.
  • Visit our Essex County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.
  • For more check the individual library websites.

What other information should I know?

The Maplewood Library Summer Reading Program will be for kids, teens and adults. Registration will be through a Google Form online and in person. Visit their library page for more information https://www.maplewoodlibrary.org/. The library also currently has Take & Make Crafts to take home. To learn more details about summer reading at the other Essex County Libraries visit our page above to find the website for your local branch.

The summer reading program at the Gloucester County libraries

  • Sign ups begin June 26th, 2021.
  • The summer reading program ends on August 7th, 2021. 
  • Special events include a summer reading kickoff show at the Logan Branch on July 1st and Sing and Dance with Jay Sand at Locke Avenue Park on July 14th.
  • For more check the Gloucester County Library system website
  • Visit our Gloucester County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Gloucester County Library summer reading program for?

The program is for children, teens and adults. 

How many books does my child need to read?

Children need to read something for this program. Books as well as magazines, gaming manuals, newspapers and audiobooks all count towards reading. 

What can readers win for participating in the Gloucester County Library Summer Reading program?

After registration participants receive a bag with a calendar of events, a bookmark, reading logs and more. Participants can bring their logs back in or log reading online to win other prizes when they go back into the library. There will be weekly prizes for kids and teens as well as other random prizes and 3 grand prizes at the end of the summer. Prizes will include local restaurant coupons. Younger kids need to log at least one book and older kids need to log at least a few chapters when coming in for their weekly prize.

Adults can write book reviews and be entered into different drawings. 

How do I register? 

Participants can register at their local branch. They can also register at gcls.readsquared.com

What other information should I know?

Currently all of the branches are now open with masks and social distancing. Contactless pick-up is also available. 

There are also five libraries within the county that are not associated with the rest of the branches. For these libraries please contact the individual branch to find out if they are having a summer reading program. The websites are listed below:

The summer reading program at the Hudson County libraries

  • The Summer Reading Program will be happening at some of the Hudson County Libraries this summer.
    • Hudson County libraries are not part of a county program so information can vary between each library. 
    • Some libraries are within the Bergen County Library Consortium. For summer reading information for those libraries please visit this page:  https://www.bccls.org/Calendar/hours.php
  • Special events include Storytime in Church Square Park and Garden Thursdays Concert Series at the Kearny Public Library.
  • For more information check the individual library websites.
  • Visit our Hudson County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries

Hoboken Public Library

The Hoboken Public Library will be having its summer reading from June 19th to August 14th. This will have a separate theme called Go Somewhere New and Exciting this Summer with the Hoboken Public Library.

Registration can be done online via the library website or inside the library. There will be an outdoor sign up table at Church State Park on June 19th as well. Infants and all the way up to adults are able to register. Registration for the program is through ReadSquared and an email address is needed to register.

There will be outdoor programs this summer at Church Square Park such as Mommy and Me Yoga and Outdoor crafts.

Readers need to read at least 20 minutes per week. Weekly small prizes will be awarded such as small toys or art supplies. There will also be raffle tickets earned for every 20 minutes read. At the end of the summer there will be 12 big prizes won after the raffle tickets are drawn. For more information call the library or visit their website https://hobokenlibrary.org/.

The summer reading program at the Hunterdon County libraries

  • Sign up begins on June 21st.
  • The reading program ends on August 15th. 
  • Special events include a Summer Concert with Mark Scimeca on July 7th and a Summer STEAM Nature Scavenger Hunt on July 19th.
  • For more check the Hunterdon County Library website
  • Visit our Hunterdon County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Hunterdon County Library summer reading program for?

This reading program is for kids pre-K to adults. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is not a certain number of books that need to be read. 

How do I register?

Registration will be online via Readsquared. 

What can readers win for participating in the Hunterdon County Library Summer Reading program?

Readers can receive a prize bag at the end of the summer. 

What other information should I know?

Currently there is no further information. More information should be here soon: https://www.hclibrary.us/kids/kidsevents.htm

The summer reading program at the Mercer County libraries

  • Signup begins June 21st, 2021.
  • The reading program ends on August 21, 2021. 
  • Special events include Lee’s Circus Extravaganza on June 21st and Ken the Magician on June 29th.
  • For more check the Mercer County Library website
  • Visit our Mercer County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Mercer County Library summer reading program for?

It is for all ages. There are three separate programs for kids (infants-11), teenagers (12-18) and adults. 

How many books does my child need to read?

Log the amount of time spent reading. 

What can readers win for participating in the Mercer County Library Summer Reading program?

Participants can pick up their first prize bag after July 12th and their final prize bag after August 16th. 

How do I register? 

Register online. Registration link will be up soon on www.mcl.org

What other information should I know?

The Mercer County Library System always offers great prizes and special summer reading events. In the past we have been to see great magicians and kid music concerts. We have received various prizes in the past such as books, small toys and local Wendy’s kids meals certificates. 

For virtual programs visit the Mercer County Library YouTube channel. My daughter loves the Pokemon programs, the Bilingual Storytimes with Miss Liz and the Dance Parties with Miss Andrea the most. My son enjoys the Dance Party with Miss Jen the most. 

NJ libraries offer virtual programs on their own YouTube channels.

Mercer County also offers great programs year round. My kids personally love the BabyTime with Miss Cathy the most. It is very interactive and the rhymes and songs are always pertinent to the month. We still have our packets of song lyrics from old programs that we use to do our own Music Time at home later.

They also love a lot of the special events at the Hickory Corner Library. Their favorites have been when Clifford visited the library, the Dr. Seuss party and concerts with Miss Kim. 

Mercer county library summer reading program events

Princeton Public Library

The Princeton Public Library is separate from the Mercer County System. Their theme this year will be “Reading colors your world.”

In 2019 our favorite summer reading program here involved being given a box and decorations to make your own spaceship. Then all the kids sat inside of them to watch a small show about Curious George going into space.

The summer reading program at the Middlesex County libraries

  • The start and end dates vary as there is no county library system. 
  • Special events will mostly be virtual such as a Didgeridoo Down Under Virtual Event on July 17th through the Plainsboro Library. 
  • For more information check the individual library websites
  • Visit our Middlesex County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

Cranbury Library

The Cranbury Library will be having their summer reading for ages 0 through 17.

  • It will be from June 21st to September 3rd.
  • There will be online summer reading events and prizes being given.
  • Online reading will be tracked through Readsquared through this website: http://cranburypl.readsquared.com/ComingSoon.aspx. Each minute of reading equals one point. Points can also be earned by attending programs and completing missions. 100 points is equal to a prize and 1000 points lets you be eligible for a grand prize at the end of the program. 

Plainsboro Public Library

The Plainsboro Public Library will be having their summer reading program for children, teens and adults.

South Plainfield Summer Reading Program

The South Plainfield Summer Reading Program is for babies through teenagers.

  • There is a picture book program for ages 0 to 8 and there is a chapter book program for ages 7 to 18.
  • It will start on June 21st and end on August 20th.
  • Registration details can be found here: http://www.southplainfield.lib.nj.us/summerreading.htm.
  • Books will be logged through ReadSquared here: http://sppl.readsquared.com/. Participants can earn small prizes each week and additional prizes can be earned based on amount read.
Library crafts!

The summer reading program at the Monmouth County libraries

  • Sign up begins June 1st, 2021.
  • The reading program ends on August 15th, 2021. 
  • Special events include a Family Summer Virtual Cooking Camp with dates starting on June 28th.
  • This information pertains to the 13 branch libraries.  There are also 12 member libraries in Monmouth County that may have different information.
  • For more check the Monmouth County Library website
  • Visit our Monmouth County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Monmouth County Library summer reading program for?

There is a Read to Me Program for Preschoolers and Pre-readers. There is a Vacation Reading Club 2021 for independent readers through sixth graders. There is a Teens 2021 program for Grades 6 to 12. There is also an Adult Summer Reading Program for ages 18 and up. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is not a set number of books that should be read. Reading books can earn you prizes. 

What can readers win for participating in the # County Library Summer Reading program?

For the Read to Me Program, after reading 10 books they receive a Lovable Llama Reward. After reading 20 books, they receive a Cuddly Farm Friend. After reading 40 books and completing 3 activity badges, they earn a Wild Paperback book. 

For the Vacation Reading Club, if they read 4 hours they earn a Playful Pup keychain. After reading for 8 hours, they receive a Ball-Popping Animal Pal. And after reading for 16 hours and doing 3 activity badges, they earn a Wild Paperback book. 

For Teen readers, they receive a Tale-Carrying Tote after reading 8 books and complete 1 fun Activity Badge. 

For Adult readers, they receive a Tale-Carrying Tote after reading and logging 4 books. 

How do I register?

Register through Beanstack at https://monmouthcountylib.beanstack.org/reader365.

New Jersey Libraries Summer Reading Programs

The summer reading program at the Morris County libraries

  • Registration begins June 22nd, 2021.
  • Log books from the week of July 6th until August 7th. There will be a Summer Reading Party held on August 12th.
  • Special events include the Big Jeff Summer Reading Kick-off on June 24th and a Summer Reading Club Movie Party on August 12th, 2021. Individual libraries will offer different programming.
  • For more check the Morris County Library website
  • Visit our Morris County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Morris County Library summer reading program for?

This program is for children and teens. 

How many books does my child need to read?

Read for a chance to earn prizes. 

What can readers win for participating in the Morris County Library Summer Reading program?

Stop in once a week for the chance to win a grand prize gift card at the end of the summer.

The summer reading program at the Ocean County libraries

  • The dates begin June 1st, 2021, individual libraries vary.
  • The reading program ends at the end of August. 
  • Special events include virtual programs such as the Eyes of the Wild Animal Show, a live tour of the Cape May Zoo and Dinosaur Fossils with Dinoman!
  • For more check the Ocean County Library website
  • Visit our Ocean County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Ocean County Library summer reading program for?

There are programs for ages 0-12, 12-18 and 18 and up. 

How many books does my child need to read?

Participants must read at least 5 books. 

What can readers win for participating in the # County Library Summer Reading program?

Children will be awarded book bundles at the end of the summer.  Participants will be entered into raffles at the end of the summer. 

How do I register?

Register online via Beanstack for the program here: https://theoceancountylibrary.beanstack.org/reader365

What other information should I know?

For more summer reading program information visit https://theoceancountylibrary.org/summer-reading.

For a complete list of summer reading programming visit https://theoceancountylibrary.org/events. The Ocean County Libraries have great summer reading programs. My daughter has personally enjoyed seeing some plays geared towards children at the Plumsted branch in the past. This year programs will be virtual and they will also be offering various Take Home Crafts throughout the summer.  

The summer reading program at the Passaic County libraries

  • The start dates vary as there’s no county library system.
  • For more check the individual library websites
  • Visit our Passaic County Library Events page for information about events for kids at this library.

What other information should I know?  

Information for a few of the libraries is listed below. Please visit the individual websites that can be found through the link above for more information:

Bloomingdale Public Library

The Bloomingdale Public Library is starting their summer reading program on June 6th with a Snakes-n-Scales Kick-off Event. For more information visit their website at: https://www.bloomingdalelibrary.org/ or call 973-838-0077.

Clifton Main and Allwood Libraries

The Clifton Main and Allwood Libraries currently do not have information on their website about start dates for their summer reading program. Check its website for any updates: https://cliftonpl.org/. Call 973-773-5500 for the Clifton Main Library or 973-471-0555 for the Allwood Library. 

reading in a book store

The summer reading program at the Salem County libraries

  • There is no library county system, check the library websites for more information.
  • Visit our Salem County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

Elmer Public Library

For the Elmer Public Library there will not be a summer reading program this year. For more information visit their website at: http://elmerlibrarynj.org/index.html or call them at 856-358-2014.

Pennsville Public Library

For the Pennsville Public Library they have not currently determined if they will be doing a summer reading program. Their phone lines are currently down but should be fixed in the next 15 days. For more information visit their website at: http://www.pennsvillelibrary.org/.

Woodstown-Pilesgrove Library

For the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Library there is currently no information regarding whether they are doing a summer reading program this summer. For more information visit their website at: https://www.woodstownlibrary.org/ or call 856-769-0098. For the Salem County Library they have currently not determined if they will be doing a summer reading yet. For more information visit their website at: https://www.facebook.com/Salem-Free-Public-Library-186501244703129/info/?tab=page_info or call 856-935-0526.

The summer reading program at the Somerset County libraries

  • The dates start June 14th, 2021. 
  • The reading program ends August 21st, 2021. 
  • Special events include a Jumpin’ Jamie Music and Puppet Show at the Bridgewater Branch lawn on July 17th, Doolittle Family Outdoor Movie Night at the Manville Branch on July 23rd and Warren Township Branch Vinyl Traction Outdoor Concert on August 7th. There are also plenty of virtual events available.
  • For more check the Somerset County Library System website.
  • Visit our Somerset County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Somerset County Library summer reading program for?

It is for all ages. There is a youth and adult summer reading program. 

How many books does my child need to read?

The amount of days of reading completed will correspond to virtual drawing tickets that can be earned. 

What can readers win for participating in the Somerset County Library Summer Reading program?

Every ten days that a participant reads earns them a virtual drawing ticket. If they read for 60 days, they receive a virtual drawing ticket, free book and entry for a golden ticket prize. Virtual drawing tickets can also be earned after submitting your first book review, and after that for every 5 reviews (up to 30). Up to 3 virtual drawing tickets can also be earned each week for attending virtual or outdoor library programs. The drawing prizes that can be won include a Forest Friends Treehouse, Apples to Apples Party Game or the Ultimate Fort Builder.

How do I register?

Go to this website to register and find out more details about the program: https://sclsnj.org/summer_reading/.

What other information should I know?

Download and print the Somerset County Virtual Summer Reading Program Event Guide for June through August at this website: https://s40873y1pyb1ozqsg275sisu-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021_June-AugustSpotlightBrochure.pdf

The summer reading program at the Sussex County libraries

  • Summer reading kick off is June 14th, 2021.
  • The reading program ends August 7th, 2021. 
  • Special events include programs with the Dennis Library Stuffed Animal Adoption and Shoe Box Parade on July 1st, Animal Crafternoons at the Dorothy Henry Library on June 22nd and a Family Juggling Show with Bill the Juggler at the Sussex Library on July 15th.
  • For more check the Sussex County Library website.
  • Visit our Sussex County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Sussex County Library summer reading program for?

The summer reading program has a Pre-K group for ages 0 to 5. There is a children group for ages 5 to 10. There is a tween group for ages 10 to 13. And there is a teen group for ages 13 to 17. There is a separate adult summer reading program for those over eighteen. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is no minimum amount. 

What can readers win for participating in the Sussex County Library Summer Reading program?

Every minute read equals one point. Earn 25 points with writing a book review, 50 points with completing a mission and 100 from attending a program. Raffle tickets can be bought for every 50 points earned and participants can choose which prize they want to try and win.

The grand prizes for each age bracket are as follows: a “busload” of Pigeon books for ages 0 to 5, a cooking and baking starter set for ages 5 to 10, a VR headset for tweens and a Nintendo Switch Lite and a copy of Animal Crossing for teens. Prize winners are notified the week of August 9th. 

Adults also can earn points in the same way as listed above. The top two readers who accumulate the most points win prizes. Raffle tickets can be put towards either of the two grand prizes which are a $100 gift certificate to Crystal Springs Golf and Resort or a Sussex County Swag Bag. 

How do I register?

Registration is online only this year with READSquared at this website: https://sussexcountylibrary.readsquared.com/ComingSoon.aspx

What other information should I know?

For complete Summer Reading Rules and Prize Information go to this website: https://sussexcountylibrary.org/summer2021/summerrules/

The summer reading program at the Union County libraries

  • Registration begins in June 2021 with different start dates during this month for the various libraries. Individual libraries vary as there is no county library system. 
  • The reading program ends in August 2021. Dates vary between libraries. 
  • Special events include an outdoor Tails & Tales Plaque Painting at the Clark Public Library on June 30th, a Sherman Park scavenger hunt on July 13th via the Cranford Library and Muscle Man Mike’s Safari at the Fanwood Library on July 26th.
  • For more check the individual library websites
  • Visit our Union County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Union County Library summer reading program for?

The ages vary for this program by individual library. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is no specific amount. The amount read relates to things you may be able to win. 

What can readers win for participating in the Union County Library Summer Reading program?

Each library may differ. For the Clark Library, babies and preschoolers earn points for each book read or program attended and these can be used to get raffle tickets. For kids entering elementary school, every hour read earns them tickets.

There will be weekly prize drawings starting in July. Teens and adults receive a raffle ticket for each book read or event attended. If they write three book reviews, they can earn a 3D printed item. 

Clark Library Summer Reading

For Clark Library Summer Reading Information visit https://clarklibrary.org/summer-reading-2021/. Registration for the program is at https://clarklibrary.beanstack.org./reader365

Cranford Library Summer Reading Program

For the Cranford Library Summer Reading Program Registration visit https://cranfordlibrary.beanstack.org/reader365. It runs from June 21st to August 20th. Teen participants earn a summer reading water bottle just for signing up!

Elizabeth Public Library Summer Reading Program

For the Elizabeth Public Library Summer Reading Program, it will run from June 28, 2021 to August 6, 2021 for ages zero to twelve. Registration begins on June 21st and details will be provided here: http://www.elizpl.org/index.

The summer reading program at the Warren County libraries

  • The dates begin June 14th, 2021, individual libraries vary.
  • The reading program ends August 14th, 2021, individual libraries vary.
  • Some of the special outdoor events at the Catherine Dickson Hofman Branch include the Eyes of the Wild on June 24th, Super Bubble Fun Time on June 29th and the Farmyard Pals Petting Zoo on July 19th. There are other virtual events and many other outdoor events as well. To register for these events go here: https://warrenlib.evanced.info/signup/calendar.
  • For more check the Warren County Library website.
  • Visit our Warren County Library Events page for information about events for kids at these libraries.

What ages is the Warren County Library summer reading program for?

The summer reading program is for all ages. Sign up for the Tails and Tails program pertaining to your age group. There is a group for babies and toddlers, kids, teens and adults as well. 

How many books does my child need to read?

There is no minimum number of books but only by reading can badges be earned.

What can readers win for participating in the Warren County Library Summer Reading program?

Once badges are earned by reading then participants are entered into weekly prize drawings. 

How do I register?

Register for the program through Beanstack at this website https://warrenlib.beanstack.org/reader365

What other information should I know?

Visit this page to view their fun commercial about the Summer Reading Program: https://warrenlib.beanstack.org/reader365

If anyone is having difficulties when registering for their program just call this number for help: 1-908-818-1280.

Choosing books at our local library

HAPPY READING!

Looking for more summer reading? Check out our post, Summer Reading Programs with Great Rewards for Kids!!

NJ Summer Reading Programs FAQ

Are Libraries open now?

Most NJ libraries are open to at least some capacity with limited hours now. Many are now open for people going inside to get books as well. 

Can I get books without going inside the library? 

Yes. Check with your local library but many NJ libraries are offering curbside pick-up. Some have other protocols as well such as not allowing visitors to put books back on the shelf or keeping books off of shelves for a few days after they are returned. 

Another way to get books for summer reading is with E-books or audiobooks. For example, Burlington County Library uses the Libby app to do this. This is a great option for people with electronic readers who want to read a book quickly. 

Can I register my child for summer reading who cannot read? 

Yes! Check with your local branch but most will allow this. Both of my children are still too young to read but we have participated for 3 different years already. Normally either the number of books or time read to them will count. You may not think reading helps at this age but it actually does immensely. My daughter suddenly started to talk a lot more at 21 months and we were surprised to hear many words she said that we had said to her from reading books to her even a year before that. 

Can I register for summer reading? 

Yes! Check with your local branch, but most also have adult reading programs. Rules may differ. Many of the adult programs are described in the summer reading programs listed above. 

Are library programs free? 

So far all the NJ library programs I have seen have been free. All of them should have it listed in the program description if there is any cost involved.

Do I need to register for a library program?

Registration is required for most library programs. Make sure to check if you need to register before attending. Many popular programs can fill up even weeks ahead of time. 

Can I go to a program in a different county?

Always check with the library itself before going to an event. Even if some allow it they may want to prioritize county residents first for programs. Most counties allow anyone to attend a program as long as they register. In the past we have attended summer reading events in Burlington, Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth and Bucks County.

Can I donate library books?

Most libraries are still not accepting book donations. Check with your library first if they are accepting them. One good way to donate old ones and/or receive new ones is to visit a Little Free Library near you. We have seen them in many places such as Downtown Moorestown and Terhune Orchards and even someone’s front yard.

Little Free Library

If you have not seen these around then this tool can be helpful to find one near you. Some of their locations are listed on this Little Free Library World Map: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/

Should I sign up for Summer Reading? 

Of course! There is nothing to lose. It has really motivated my two kids to read more.

Many libraries offer prizes in association with their program. After three years of participating we have already received enough prize books to fill a small bookshelf from participating in Summer Reading Programs.

The kids have also enjoyed some of the other prizes as well such as Wendy’s Kids Meals, free slices of pizza and Chipotle Kids Meals. My daughter now has a bookmark collection from all the bookmarks she has received. My kids sometimes have received small toys as well. 

Summer reading program bookmarks

Should I go to a summer reading events?

Yes! Many people are looking for things to do with their kids over the summer and these will definitely keep them entertained. My daughter loves dinosaurs so one of her favorite events was seeing a T-rex in the Burlington County Library. It’s tail was so high it was knocking the ceiling tiles!

Some other cool things we have seen are a cockatoo riding a monster truck, a man with multiple plates spinning on sticks, great science shows from the Franklin Institute and more.

a cockatoo riding a monster truck at a Bordentown NJ library summer reading program event

Often at the beginning and end of the summer the events can be even bigger. In the past we have been to a Delanco End of Summer Reading Party with a sundae bar, toy and book prizes. We have been to a Cherry Hill End of Summer Reading Party which had food trucks, sand art, toys, bounce houses and inflatable axe throwing.

We have been to a Ewing Library End of Summer Reading Program where they had cake, ice pops, cookies, prizes, books and arts and crafts. 

If you are cautious about going to places, many library events are virtual this summer. Most summer reading programs can be signed up for online or via the phone and many libraries still offer curbside pickup, so it is still easy to participate. Many library programs are also currently outdoors, and most of these require registration. 

Is there a different theme each year?

Yes! We participated in 2019 when the theme was “A Universe of Stories.” We also participated in 2018 when the theme was “Libraries Rock!” And we had participated in 2017 when the theme was “Build A Better World.”

Often there are some programs or crafts related to the themes. There is also matching decor in the libraries, photo spots, bookmarks and more which really makes it exciting. These are some things associated with the “A Universe of Stories” theme. 

Who will be doing the summer reading program events?

Each library that is doing events often has at least a few types of programs scheduled. Here are a few of our favorite people we have seen in the past at libraries:

  • Turtle Dance Music – Mr. Matt always has lots of variety in his shows that keeps kids engaged and the shows are autism friendly as well. They often use apps, instruments, bubbles, music and stories. My kids love his space show the most. 
  • Zoo Jersey – They bring live animals and educate kids about them.
  • Miss Kim – She is a local performer who sings and plays the guitar to babies and young children. She plays well known kid songs as well as many of her own entertaining originals which make the shows more refreshing to hear for grown-ups. 
  • Andrew’s Big Show – His performance consists of comedy mixed in with his circus acts and juggling. It keeps kids and adults mesmerized. 
  • Two of a Kind – This duo is never out of tune and are always coming up with great new original music. They also use a variety of instruments and often involve props and costumes and audience participation. 
  • Magician Jake Strong – His magic will truly astound you. When watching his show even adults will be unable to fathom how he does his tricks. He also mixes a lot of comedy in which helps keep young children engaged as well. 
summer reading program events in New Jersey

Are there other reading programs throughout the year to track your reading?

Yes! Check with your local library.

My children are younger so we participate in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program. It is designed to promote a lifelong love of reading. Although the number sounds large it is actually not that intimidating. If you read even one book to your child before bed each night you would reach 1,000 books within 3 years.

So far we have seen places in libraries where kids can get their picture taken every time they read 1,000 books.

Other libraries have places on the wall where kid’s names appear once they have read a certain number of books. And some libraries may offer prizes for reading a certain number of books.

Find out more details and get log sheets at https://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/1000-books-before-kindergarten-program. Contact your local branch to see if they participate or check the directory here: https://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/find-a-program/new-jersey

books as prizes in summer reading programs

Are there other library events throughout the year?

Yes! Some of our favorite NJ library events have been the Harry Potter Party at the Burlington County Library, the Chinese New Year Party at the Princeton Public Library, the Valentine’s Day Party at the Pemberton Library and multiple plays from Family Stages.

Many libraries also have recurring things such as storytimes, music classes, etc… If you are busy during the weekdays be sure to still check their calendars. Many libraries have even started offering some weekend and weeknight programs as well. 

Are programs only for kids?

No! There are programs at NJ libraries for adults as well. Some I have done were a sewing class at the Pemberton Library, an adult art class at the Hollowbrook Library.

There are also informational programs that may be useful for different stages of your life. I have attended ones through the Mercer County Library System related to setting up a 529 Plan, Buying your First House and one about Environmental Issues in New Jersey. These are often in the evenings or on weekends.

Now many adult library programs are virtual as well! I have done multiple virtual cooking classes that are a great way to try some new recipes. Olga St. Pierre also has a great Declutter Your Home Stress Free Program. 

Are there crafts available?

Yes! Check with your local library. In 2019 most NJ libraries had crafts available in the children’s section.

Currently most NJ libraries that are offering crafts are offering them in bags for kids to take home and make. Some libraries even offer crafts for multiple age groups.

At the Mount Laurel Library, Burlington County Library and Lawrenceville Libraries I have seen crafts offered sometimes for kids, teenagers and adult as well.

Many libraries are currently offering crafts to take home throughout the year as well. Some are available with curbside pickup as well if you call to check. This picture shows crafts we received from the Ewing and the Lawrenceville library before Mother’s Day.

mother's day crafts made at NJ libraries

Are there other summer reading programs as well? 

Yes! This link shows other Summer Reading Programs with Rewards: https://www.jerseyfamilyfun.com/summer-reading-programs-reading-rewards/

Out of these in the past we have done the Chuck E Cheese year round reading awards program. This is a great way to earn some tokens before your visit. 

My family has also gone into Bucks County to do the Summer Reading Program with Mommy’s Lil’ Black Book over there. This is a great way to plan a fun and free day out in Bucks County. Information will soon be up for this on the website here: https://mommyslilblackbook.com.

In the past we just had to fill a log with ten books we had read and then you take that to area businesses where they give you free perks for reading. My daughter most enjoyed a free chocolate covered pretzel from Lily’s Paradise, jumping at the Altitude Trampoline Park in Feasterville, free ice cream from the Goodnoe Farm Dairy Bar in Newtown and bouncing at BounceU in Langhorne. Each year different businesses participate and so far all of the ones we have tried have been great!

rewards from Summer Reading Program with Mommy’s Lil’ Black Book

Need help keeping track of what the kids read?

Have the kids keep track on their own. These reading logs and journals on Amazon make it easy for kids to stay organized, remember what they read, and get credit for it. These are Amazon affiliate links so if you buy something we’ll get a small commission, thank you. I loved these so much I got a few for my kids.

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