Library Summer Reading Program Blasts Off June 1

Maricopa County officials are encouraging residents — particularly young readers — to include summer reading in their vacation plans. More than 60 libraries across Maricopa County participate, so people of all ages can log their reading online, complete challenges, and attend library events to win prizes.

Beginning June 1, participants can start logging their summer reading activities for food rewards at Peter Piper Pizza and Rubio’s Coastal Grill. People who log 1,000 points can choose a free book from an online marketplace, while supplies last. Participants can earn one point per minute for reading physical or electronic books (including graphic novels), listening to audiobooks, and also for attending library events, completing online challenges and participating in community experiences.

“Summer is the perfect time to read for fun,” said Bill Gates, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, District 3. “There is something for everyone in the Summer Reading Program, including dozens of community experiences and our digital catalog. Now you can download and use electronic books and audiobooks to earn your points and complete the Summer Reading Program Challenge.”

“It’s easy to participate: read 20 minutes a day, log your time and enter into a weekly drawing to win prizes,” said Cindy Kolaczynski, Maricopa County Library District Director and County Librarian. “Our libraries do so much more than lend books. They provide early learning programs to children and their families and are centers of community engagement, especially in the hot summer months.”

This year’s theme is A Universe of Stories, which encourages participants to explore outer space and exercise their minds by reading at least 20 minutes a day. Participants can earn online badges to keep a healthy competition with family and friends.

“Our summer reading program is fun, but it is also one of the County’s major community literacy efforts,” Kolaczynski continued. “We love helping kids maintain literacy skills during the summer through games and experiences that create excitement around reading.”

The program runs through August 1 in more than 60 public, tribal, and military libraries throughout Maricopa County. For more information about the program, events, and to register, visit


Summertime…And The Forgettin’ Is Easy


Click to learn more about Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz –


This is the cry of school kids from Kindergarten through college. The expectation that the summer vacation frees them from studying, from learning, from reading, from following current events, for them is real. However, in reality, summertime should be an opportunity to study, learn, read and better understanding the world — without the pressures of tests or teachers’ frightening glares.

Forgetting is easy. Too easy.

Spending a full summer just ‘chillin out’ as some call it, is a full summer wasted. Reading is critical for everybody, in whatever language(s) one reads. From the youngest to the more mature, keeping the grey matter active is critical and smart.

Now I know you are hearing from your children, “but it’s summertime!” Yup, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. But the world does not stop because it is summer in this part of the globe.

Use the months of summer to bolster readiness for next semester. Take an active part in learning during summer. Try exploring something enjoyable that is not part of the curriculum. Use the computers at the public library. Visit the state capitol museum. Travel a little north to find out about the different flora and fauna of Arizona. Take a walk — not a ride — and listen to the sounds of the world around you. Try to understand a hummingbird. Hear leaves whispering. None of these costs anything, and the impact could be seriously overwhelming.

During summer, don’t let the mind stagnate. Watch the news programs, and analyze their differences. Listen to radio news, and hear what others across the globe sound like. Find a Study-Buddy, and explore a museum, play softball, create a new dessert for the family supper. But don’t waste this summer! Read, learn, explore…and have fun!

I remember having to write annually about “what I did during my summer vacation.” The fall editorial adventure, trying to make summer look good to others, and trying to make myself feel good for having wasted so much time.

Doesn’t have to be…

Video games have a purpose, but not at the expense of picking up a daily newspaper or a topic-friendly book. Let the youngsters rest their thumbs for a little while. Motivate their body’s senses to take in the sights and sounds only available in summer. Capture special moments. Challenge the season to give its special opportunities, and have fun doing it.

For many, summer is 10 week long; two and a half months. Plan a calendar that allows for “down-time” and fun-time, and learning time. Don’t fritter away the potential joy of finding something new, visiting an extraordinary venue or helping around the house.

Ahhhh summertime. Use it wisely and energize the mind. Keep active, and enjoy the schedule change.

Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. is known Valley-wide for his more than three decades of support for civil and human rights, and the positive efforts of law enforcement. He regularly lectures on related subjects, while working part-time as Hospital Chaplaincy Coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Contact him at

Photo credit: KOMUnews via / CC BY
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