Libraries Challenge Themselves this Summer


July 07, 2021
Matthew Perry
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

Libraries across the Commonwealth are challenging themselves and their residents as part of the 2nd Annual First Lady of the Commonwealth and Blades Summer Reading Challenge, which is currently underway. The challenge began last year as an option for libraries that moved summer reading to fully remote during the pandemic.

“The past year has been challenging for everyone and has had a great impact on kids and their academic achievement,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan. “Summer reading allows kids to stay sharp for the coming school year, and the challenge is a fun way to keep them engaged.”

Studies show that kids who read four or more books over the summer months perform better in the fall than students who read one or fewer books. Last summer, kids read a combined total of 1.7 million minutes during the challenge.

In total, 60 libraries from across Massachusetts signed up to participate, each picking their own unique challenge for their community to meet between July 1 and August 13. The Hazen Memorial Library in Shirley’s goal is to read 2500 books, Medway is aiming for at least 2000 books read by all participants, and the Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield has a goal of 150 people registered for summer reading. Libraries who reach their goals are entered into a drawing for signed Bruins gear. Contact your local library to find out if they are participating.

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 the Mass. Library System, has allowed libraries to receive summer reading materials at no cost. Some participating libraries are using Beanstack, which is made available through a grant from the MBLC, to track their summer progress.

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.