Library Summer Reading Programs on Both Shores

Public libraries are some of our greatest, most underappreciated treasures. Free access to books, movies, music, and computers… free assistance with research and homework… and one of the best features — summer reading programs with prizes, raffles, and fun activities!

We’ve pulled together a list of programs being offered by public libraries in Jefferson Parish, New Orleans, and St. Tammany Parish. While things are slowly returning to normal after a crazy covid year, some events and activities are in-person, and some are happening remotely. See links and details below… 

Jefferson Parish Library

June 1 – July 31

Kids, teens and adults can earn points for prizes — animal hats and Raising Cane’s meals for kids, and a weekly raffle for a $25 Amazon gift card for teens and adults.  All age groups who reach their goal by the end of the summer will be entered into a raffle for a $150 Amazon gift card.

Special programming will be primarily virtual, including weekly Grab & Go Craft for kids and teens, and a daily show from the Page Turner Animal Adventures Virtual Summer Library Program beginning June 7. Geared towards children in grades K-3,  it features comedy shows, crafts, recipes, children’s book author interviews, guest performers, virtual field trips, contests, games, and much more. 

JPL is partnering with JPAWS (Jefferson Protection & Animal Welfare Services – formerly the Animal Shelter) on a few programs: weekly storytimes with an adoptable dog or cat filmed at the shelter, Tall Tail Tuesdays where kids can read to a shelter animal at the West Bank Animal Shelter, a dog adoption event at the East Bank Regional Library from 10-2 on 6/12, and they’ll be accepting donations for the shelter at all library locations.

JPL is also partnering with the Parks and Recreation department to provide some outdoor storytimes, all of which begin at 9:30am, are geared toward ages 3-5, and are followed by a craft. (Details on other in-person events TBA.) June Storytimes: 6/15 Terrytown Playground; 6/16 Girard Playground; 6/17 Cleary Playground; 6/22 PARD Playground. July Storytimes: 7/21 Terrytown Playground; 7/23 Girard Playground; 7/26 Cleary Playground; 7/28 PARD Playground

New Orleans Public Library

Now through July 17

NOPL’s summer programming is virtual again this year, featuring visits with Audubon Nature Institute educators, a financial literacy series with Flyte Coaching, book clubs, online games, and more. 

To participate in NOPL’s summer reading program, young readers are encouraged to sign up and download a BINGO card and reading tracker (also available in Spanish) or pick one up at the library. Participants can begin completing the activities and/or reading to fill out the reading tracker to earn entries in the prize drawing.

St. Tammany Parish Library

Now through August 7

STPL offers up two Summer Reading Challenge options — one for kids 11 and under, the other for tweens and teens ages 12-18. The younger kids will get a reading log to get started reading (or being read to) at least 15 minutes a day to reach their goal and collect a certificate of achievement, get a prize, and get entered into weekly drawings for additional prizes. 6-11 year olds also have the option o complete missions by reading books and participating in other activities and earn beads and brag tags.

Teens 12-18 can sign up online to participate in the Beanstack Reading Challenge, where they can log reading minutes for entries in random drawings for $50 gift cards, earn activity badges, and get a mini-notebook or a set of earbuds just for signing up. Plus, they can engage in fun virtual workshops and other fun events and activities.

STPL’s Summer Reading Challenge kicks off on Friday, May 28 with a virtual Kabuki Dancers event from 6:30-7:30pm, which includes a discussion on the elements of Hip-Hop and the Hip-Hop pioneers, an audience participation dance workshop, and a dance performance.