Enriching activities planned to combat summer slide at all three library systems

May 7, 2019—New York City’s three library systems are strengthening citywide summer reading and other youth educational programs over the next two years with a $1 million grant from the New York Life Foundation, the largest corporate funder of NYC’s Public Libraries summer reading program.

The grant—awarded to the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Public Library, and The New York Public Library (which covers the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island)—will support annual efforts by the libraries to encourage independent learning while children and teens are out of school during the summer months. The funding will help reduce the “summer slide”: when school-aged children lose critical skills gained during the school year if not engaged in enriching activities over the summer.

“Libraries provide important free summer reading and educational programs to thousands of children who otherwise would not have access to them,” said New York Life Foundation President Heather Nesle. “Studies have shown that much of the achievement gap can be attributed to unequal summer learning opportunities, which is why the Foundation supports out-of-school time programs.”

The summer reading program launches in June at over 215 library branches in all five boroughs. Kids and teens read as many books as possible, earn prizes, and participate in various kinds of engaging in-branch activities.

In addition to summer reading support, the New York Life Foundation’s grant is supporting various youth education programs at the three library systems for middle school students, such as youth tech programs, science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM), history programs, and more.

“The New York Public Library works every summer to encourage students to keep learning, keep growing, and keep being curious while they’re away from school,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “We want to develop a culture of reading that goes beyond the classroom and supports the city’s educational efforts. We are so grateful for the New York Life Foundation’s support of these important efforts and know that students across New York City will benefit from their generosity.”  

“We look forward to seeing libraries across the borough crowded with students of all ages this summer and are so grateful for the support of the New York Life Foundation as we help children across New York discover the joy of reading,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson.

"We know that children and teens count on our libraries to discover and grow during the out-of-school hours year-round, and summer offers especially meaningful opportunities," said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. "We are grateful to the New York Life Foundation for its generous support in helping us develop a hands-on summer learning program for middle school students to advance their STEAM skills."

The New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $280 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good and Grief-Sensitive Schools programs. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org.

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming, and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.

Brooklyn Public Library is the nation’s sixth-largest library system and among the borough’s most democratic civic institutions. We offer 65,000 free programs a year for people from all walks of life—immigrants learning a new language, students preparing for college, older adults seeking companionship, aspiring entrepreneurs launching their dreams, children discovering the world, and people of all ages exploring arts and culture. And we provide patrons 3.9 million opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the discovery of a good book. Learn more at bklynlibrary.org.

Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, QPL offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 65 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology center, two universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers. Visit online at queenslibrary.org.

Media Contacts:
New York Life: Lacey_S_Siegel@newyorklife.com
New York Public Library: Robert Sherwood | robertsherwood@nypl.org
Brooklyn Public Library: Fritzi Bodenheimer | FBodenheimer@bklynlibrary.org
Queens Public Library: Elisabeth de Bourbon | elisabeth.debourbon@queenslibrary.org