Make Reading a Must-do Summer Project

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is putting books in the hands of children in an effort to keep their reading skills sharp during summer months, and stops the “summer slide” that can leave your child months behind when they return to school in August.

The library recommends reading as little as 12 hours – or two hours a week – which makes an impact on a kid’s reading skills. Summerfest reading isn’t limited to library books, either. Listening to audiobooks, reading magazines or other reading-related activities can count toward winning a reward for their effort. Use your library card to sign up at

“Last year 4,600 children logged 46,000 hours of reading during the summer, so we have a ways to go to surpass that goal. It starts with adults, who model the way and get kids excited about the rewards of reading – both tangible and not,” said Marie Pyko, Public Services Manager.

National studies and a 2010 local pilot project conducted by the library and the Auburn-Washburn school district show that participation in a public library reading program helps students maintain or improve reading levels. Area schools are also recognized for their students’ summer reading accomplishments. Indian Hills Elementary School earned the Summer Reading Championship trophy last year. Students there read more than 2,100 hours during June and July 2010.

Summerfest reading is organized to suit the needs of an individual, family and groups with minimum hours or books needed to be eligible for prizes. Just for signing up, kids and teens receive a free book. A complete list of prizes and sign up at

  • Youth: birth to middle school kids read to 12 hours
  • Teen: middle school to 18-year-olds read 12 hours
  • Group: a perfect option for daycares and camps
  • Adult: The 18 and older crowd will read 8 books

As of this June 20, 4,424 children, 588 teens and 1,085 adults have signed up.

The library also offers free programs and activities that are enjoyable for all ages. To see a complete list, pick up a copy of the library schedule connectnow or visit the library’s digital branch

The library’s bookmobiles travel to 16 locations across Shawnee County each week. The Adventuremobile, the mobile library for kids has 12 stops Monday-Friday, and will be at Top City Thursdays in Downtown Topeka on the third Thursday of every month. The Bookmobiles schedules can be found in any issue of connectnow, and is also at

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is a 21st-century, landmark library, and features the Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery, the Millennium Café, Chandler Booktique, meeting rooms, and free computer and Internet access and training.

Library hours are Mon. through Fri. 9 am to 9 pm, Sat. 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 9 pm.