May 21, 2020

Library to launch all-digital Summer Reading Challenge on May 30

Annual program focuses on educational benefits of summer reading

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) will offer, amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, an all-digital Summer Reading Challenge beginning Saturday, May 30 and concluding Saturday, Aug. 1.

Summer Reading Challenge is CML’s signature program to keep young readers from losing critical literacy skills during the summer months. Loss of these skills is often referred to as summer slide, and places children at a distinct learning disadvantage once school begins again in August.

“Gov. DeWine’s closure of Ohio’s K-12 public schools, coupled with the challenges students and educators face with at-home learning, means the summer slide could be steeper than ever before,” said CML Public Services Director Kathy Shahbodaghi. “Which is why we’re more committed than ever before to offering an engaging Summer Reading Challenge this year.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s 9-week program will be offered with several modifications put in place to ensure the community’s health and safety. Changes include:

  • The program will be online only through and – new this year – with the free READsquared app (available on iOS and Android devices). Customers of all ages can use the app to log in and track activity just like on CML’s website. 
  • CML will not offer any in-person programs at its 23 locations. CML will instead offer a calendar of free virtual events. 
  • The VolunTeen program, which enables 12-17-year-olds to help with customer sign-ups and programs, has been canceled. 
  • Customers will be able to track their reading on a Game Board and play Reading Activity Bingo to be entered into raffles for prizes. CML will have raffle drawings for gift cards and food offers along the way, as well as a raffle at the end of the program that includes kids’ bikes, helmets and locks for the 5-11 age group, as well as book bundles for all other age groups. 
  • New this year: the Community Challenge. CML challenges Franklin County readers to reach a reading goal of 6 million minutes. Participants can check the community’s progress when logged into their Summer Reading Challenge account. 
  • Also new this year: the School Challenge. One Franklin County elementary school, middle school and high school building with students recording the highest total number of reading minutes will each receive free books. Students will be able to track their school’s progress in their Summer Reading Challenge accounts.

Customers of all ages can log in starting Saturday, May 30.

Visit CML’s frequently updated COVID-19 Coronavirus Response web page for FAQs about library services, as well as information on resources such as foodbanks, internet service providers, volunteer opportunities, home learning options for the whole family and much more.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Challenge and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources.

CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. CML was also named 2010 Library of the Year by Library Journal.