Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library in partnership with the Lifelong Learning Department 

It’s almost June and if you’re a Library super-fan then you know that means the kick off our annual summer learning program. This year Discover Summer is definitely different than years past, but it’s still packed to the brim with fun! Participation in our summer program is open to kids of all ages and is completely free! No Library card is required.

“Summer Learning has been heavily streamlined this year to focus on providing high-quality materials and experiences for the community while prioritizing the safety of both participants and Library staff,” said Lifelong Learning Manager Maggie Killman. “This year, our community is facing a new challenge in a ‘COVID slide’. Data from the NWEA is showing that the greatest risk for learning loss in younger children and in math skills. We are coordinating our programming to help support learning in these areas.” 

Here’s what to expect from this year’s Discover Summer activities for kids and teens: 

Activity Booklets 

  • Activity booklets will be your guide to summer learning, containing ideas and inspiration for things you can do at home to keep your brains engaged all summer.
  • Booklets will be available at branch libraries open for drive-thru and curbside pickup starting June 8. As more locations re-open, booklets will be available there as well. PreK families will also get an early literacy calendar.
  • You can print your booklet at home by clicking the link for your child’s age group: 

Free Books

  • When you sign up for Discover Summer, you’ll receive a free book!
  • Free books for kids and teens can be picked up at branch libraries open for drive-thru and curbside pickup starting June 8. As more locations re-open, books will be available there as well.
  • Limited to one book per child or teen.

 Summer Meals 

  • Free meal service for children ages 18 and under will continue throughout the summer in much the same way as it has been since schools closed. 
  • There is a new schedule of meals for the summer that will be posted on our website shortly. 

There’s an App for That! 

  • We are excited to be providing a summer learning app later this summer to complement your activity booklets. 
  • Track your time spent reading or learning, write book reviews for your neighbors, and earn badges based on how active you’ve been!
  • Our app will be available for Android, iOS, and any device with a web browser. Check back soon for more information!

Virtual Programs   

  • Until we can all safely meet in person again, we’ll host all your favorite summer programs virtually. 
  • Check the events calendar and the Discover Summer home page to learn about upcoming events and sign up. 

Take and Make 

  • Later this summer, we’ll distribute STEM activity kits at branch library locations open for drive-thru and curbside pickup. 
  • This will allow us to safely deliver non-virtual, hands-on summer activities for kids and families that support learning needs without gathering as a group in a physical space.  


  • At the end of summer, you’ll be able to collect your prize for completing your Discover Summer activities. 
  • Stay tuned for all the fun rewards we have in store! 

Research shows that kids who don’t practice reading and math skills over the summer experience a “summer slide,” where they lose some of the progress they made during the school year,” said Killman. “Now more than ever, it is important to help kids keep their skills sharp. Your Library is committed to providing you tools to keep kids learning over the summer—and better yet, make summer learning fun.”

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Discover Summer homepage. For the most up to date information on what Library services are currently available, visit our COVID-19 Update page. For questions, contact us at

Discover Summer is made possible through the generous support of these donors: The Library Foundation of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Friends of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Duke Energy Foundation, Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation, TriHealth, Chemed Foundation. 

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