The New York Public Library Is Distributing Books and Activity Kits to Thousands of Families in High Needs Communities This Summer

The Library—in partnership with the National Book Foundation—is making 40,000 Summer Reading kits available, distributed by the Department of Education and New York City elected officials

Media Contact: Angela Montefinise / angelamontefinise@nypl.org

JULY 23, 2020—In an effort to ensure that New York families have access to books and activities this summer, The New York Public Library is distributing 40,000 Summer Reading kits to high needs communities.

The kits—made possible in part by a book donation coordinated by The National Book Foundation—include at least one book for families to keep, along with printed, fun literacy-building activities, stickers, and more to support independent reading and learning over the summer months. There are kits for six different age groups, ranging from babies and toddlers to high school students, and they are available in both English and Spanish.

A portion of the kits will be available at 10 Department of Education food distribution centers across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island (NYPL’s service area) beginning on Wednesday, July 29, (while supplies last). For the latest information on distribution, visit nypl.org/kits. Other kits have already been distributed in local communities by elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr, State Senators Luis Sepúlveda, Brad Hoylman, and Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Latoya Joyner, and City Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Diana Ayala, Mark Levine, and Carlina Rivera, along with others who attended distributions to hand out kits. Many of these events were in partnership with local community groups such as Bridge Builders, William Hodson Senior Center, BronxWorks Classic Community Center, Union Settlement, Frederick Samuel Community Center, and Catholic Relief Services. A number of the distributions were also hosted by tenant associations at NYCHA Housing Developments such as Highbridge Gardens and Jacob Riis Cornerstones, Polo Towers, and the Taft, Washington, Rangel, Vladeck, Grant, St. Nicholas, Harlem River, and Dyckman Houses. Additional kits were delivered to local community based organizations and houses of worship such as East Side House Settlement, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, and Greenwich House.

For decades, The New York Public Library has supported the City’s school children during summer vacation, providing engaging, fun, educational activities to help combat “summer slide,” the loss of months of prior learning while they are out of school over the summer. This summer that role is particularly important, as the City’s school children just completed a year with unprecedented challenges, and now face a summer of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Library launched its 2020 Summer Reading program Quest For Adventure on June 8 with a whole host of virtual programs planned, including virtual summer camps; it also understands the continued importance of physical materials, particularly for families without internet access.

“The Library has worked diligently to support New York families in this unprecedented moment, offering a wide range of digital resources to support remote learning, such as e-books, virtual literacy-building activities, one-on-one virtual tutoring for grades K-12, and more,” saidBrian Bannon, the Library’s chief librarian and the Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education. “As this public health crisis moves into the summer months, we take seriously our role of supporting these families outside of the classroom–whatever classroom means–including and especially those without access to technology. This project gives thousands of families access to important educational materials, including books, to ensure they don’t get left behind, and can still have some fun while reading and learning.”

“Over the past four years, we are proud to have provided families living in New York City Housing Authority communities with over 200,000 free new high-quality books through our Book Rich Environments program, and we are thrilled to be working with NYPL this summer to build on that work,” said Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation. “NYC is National Book Foundation’s home base, and we see access to books as absolutely essential for our neighbors, especially at this moment when so many other resources are out of reach or on hiatus.”

DOE Schools / Food Distribution Centers Where Books Will Be Distributed: 

  • M.S. 260 Clinton School Writers & Artists, 10 East 15th Street, Manhattan
  • Wadleigh Secondary School, 215 West 114th Street, Manhattan
  • The Lexington Academy, 131 East 104th Street, Manhattan
  • I.S. 229 Roland Patterson, 275 Harlem River Park Bridge, Bronx
  • P.S. 199, 1075 Pugsley Avenue, Bronx
  • J.H.S. 131 Albert Einstein, 885  Bolton Avenue, Bronx
  • P.S. 46 Edgar Allan Poe, 279 East 196th Street, Bronx 
  • P.S. 3 Raul Julia Micro Society, 2100 LaFontaine Avenue, Bronx 
  • IS 49 Berta A Dreyfus, 101 Warren Street, Staten Island
  • PS 18 John G Whittier, 221 Broadway, Staten Island

Major support provided by the New York Life Foundation, the 2020 city-wide sponsor for the Summer Reading Program.

The New York Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is generously funded by HSBC Bank USA; New York Yankees Foundation; The Rona Jaffe Foundation; WarnerMedia; Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Inc.; anonymous donors; and the continuing major support of the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Family Endowment for Young Audiences. © 2020 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. 

About The New York Public Library
For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.

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