Residents Take Part in Summer Reading Events


October 08, 2020
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x240

Despite most library doors being closed to the public during the summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 435,000 Massachusetts residents participated in summer reading events across the state. This total was made possible by libraries adapting to the circumstances and offering online reading tracking, virtual events, and socially distanced in person events.

“We are so glad to see that people turned to their libraries during this difficult time” said MBLC Chair Mary Ann Cluggish. “Libraries are the heart of their communities, and providing a sense of normalcy for children, teens, and adults, was exactly what was needed this summer.”

In total, there were 12,930 library events that took place between June and August. Many libraries offered take home kits that could be picked up by participants and then used at home during an online event. Kits that were used included cooking, science, and crafts for all ages. Virtual events were supported through the Online Virtual Calendars on the MBLC Public Portal. The calendars allow Massachusetts residents to see what events are happening around the state and attend them no matter which library is hosting.

Other libraries did conduct socially distanced, in person outdoor programming including story walks at public parks, monarch butterflies, and author talks. One librarian said “We had one in-person program and it was awesome!  We held it in our adult garden and the kids were super happy to be back at the library.”

Massachusetts residents also read over 1.7 million minutes as part of the first ever First Lady of the Commonwealth and Blades Summer Reading Challenge.

Over four million children teens and adults have participated in summer reading since 2009. The Bruins' financial support of the statewide summer reading program, along with federal IMLS Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding from the MBLC and MLS, has allowed libraries to receive summer reading materials at no cost. Some participating libraries are using Beanstack to track their summer progress. Beanstack was made available to libraries through a grant from the MBLC.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.