By Celeste Bruno, MBLC, Sarah Sogigian, MLS, and Susan Babb, MLS

Almost 11,000 programs were held this summer in over 300 libraries for a total attendance of over 375,000! Almost 100,000 children, teens, and adults registered for your summer library program! Massachusetts libraries were busy and the numbers demonstrate it.

Teens and adults account for major increases in participation. Summer 2011 marked the first year that Massachusetts libraries were able to offer a unique program for adults, made possible by Massachusetts’ membership in the nationwide Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), which now number all fifty states working together to provide summer reading programming materials.

For summer 2011 the CSLP offered three programs with general world cultures theme: Novel Destinations for adults, You Are Here for Teens, and One World, Many Stories for children. “In a small library, we need all the help that we can get and we got it through the manuals, the great posters, certificates, and bookmarks. Our numbers are up and our patrons are happy,” said one librarian.

Summer 2011 also marked the third year that the Boston Bruins have partnered with the MBLC and MLS to promote reading over the summer. The spring brought the Stanley Cup back to the Bruins and the team shared that victory with libraries by awarding special Stanley Cup Reading Rinks to six libraries selected from a statewide grant process. Libraries in Athol, Bourne, Chicopee, Framingham, Quincy, and Salisbury each received a special visit from the Bruins mascot Blades and a Stanley Cup Reading Rink which consists of consist of a Bruins logo rug, two bookcases made with hockey sticks, child sized Stanley Cup puck and hockey stick table with four child sized stools. “Bruins were a draw for some kids who otherwise wouldn’t have participated,”said one librarian.

Many libraries offered summer reading participants the opportunity to give back to the community. MLS facilitated library participation with Heifer International which works with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth by empowering lives of self-reliance and hope with gifts of livestock.

Massachusetts has offered the statewide online summer reading program ReadsinMa through Evanced since 2007. Participants register, write book reviews, set goals, and track their progress online. Massachusetts was the first state in the country to offer such a program. Many libraries use the online program exclusively, “We especially like the online book club, it makes registration, statistics and kids reviews fun and easy,” reported one librarian.

Librarians are already looking forward to summer reading 2012 when the theme is the night. The artist responsible for the 2012 promotional materials is Massachusetts children’s author, Brian Lies. Mr. Lies will be visiting select libraries throughout the state during summer 2012, as made possible by the second year in the grant Support for Summer Reading Online.

For more information about summer reading: