Summer Reading 2021

Don't miss this: Summer Reading Launch Keynote Speaker: Kwame Alexander
Newbery medal winner and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander shares a bit of conversation, a dash of storytelling, and a splash of performance to engage young readers. As Alexander says, "Books are cool like amusement parks, and sometimes you gotta let the kids choose the rides!" A performance for all ages. Registration is required.

What is the Johnson County Library Summer Reading Program?
The Summer Reading Program is an initiative that aims to promote reading and literacy to children, teens and adults. Each summer, Johnson County Library offers programs and events connected to the Summer Reading theme, which this year is Tails and Tales. The theme is chosen by the Collaborative Summer Library Program and adopted by libraries across the country.

Why is Summer Reading so important?
Johnson County Library promotes reading and literacy by offering access to books, programs and presenters during the summer months to help encourage our community to keep reading and reduce summer slide. Research shows that kids who don’t practice reading skills during times when school is not in session can lose gains in ability made the previous academic year. Download a Summer Reading log to track your progress.

When does Summer Reading start and end?
The Summer Reading Program kicks off virtually Saturday, June 5 at 10 a.m., with noted author and educator Kwame Alexander as the keynote speaker and live entertainment and trivia to follow.

The grand finale of our 2021 Summer Reading Tales and Tails will be Saturday, July 31. We’ll showcase our contest winners, test our trivia mettle, and enjoy a special feature storytime with Sparkle the unicorn and friends.

How do I find out more information about Summer Reading at Johnson County Library?
We’ll update this website and our social media accounts frequently with new information and updates about our Summer Reading program. Follow @jocolibrary on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  We also offer a biweekly Summer Reading email newsletter this June and July with featured programming, reading recommendations, and more tips for summer fun. Sign up »


Will Summer Reading events be virtual in 2021?
Yes. The Library has postponed in-person events until Fall 2021. All programming will be virtual using Facebook Live, Zoom and On24.

Do I need to register for events?
Most events will require registration. Beginning in mid-April, you will find a full list of events and registration details on our Events Calendar »

What kinds of Summer Reading programs will be offered this year?
This summer's programming will include appearances by KSDS Assistance Dogs, Clearwater Aquarium, The Barn Sanctuary and Topeka Zoo.  We will also bring back favorite events such as workshops with writer/illustrator Charlie Mylie and Young Rembrandts, for our budding artists and storytellers.  You will also have the opportunity to connect with library staff through youth book clubs, storytimes, featured contests, trivia, and more!

Will you have contests this year?
Yes, we will have several contest opportunities this year: the Friends of Johnson County Library bookmark design contest and a sticker contest open to all ages, as well as a photography contest and short story contest geared toward teens. All entries will be submitted online and judged by teens, with the assistance of Library staff.


Are you giving away Summer Reading books this year?
Like last year, Summer Reading books will not be distributed in at Library branches due to COVID-19 precautions. We will again work with community partners like school districts, rec centers and non-profit organizations to give away books at their events and locations.

In addition, we are partnering with our Walk and Read team and cities across Johnson County to host Pop Ups in the Park. We hope these outdoor events will be a fun and safe way to distribute books to the public—keep an eye on @jocolibrary on social media or subscribe to our Summer Reading newsletter for locations and times, which will change each week!

What kind of books will you be handing out at Summer Reading events?

Johnson County Library has ordered over 24,000 books across all age groups within the following categories:  Board, Picture, Easy Reader, J Fiction, Nonfiiction, and Teen. This page lists just a few of the titles available! In addition to books, you’ll receive a Summer Reading bag filled with bookmarks, reading logs, stickers, and other library swag.