Public libraries planning for 2021 summer reading program

It may still be the middle of winter, but Arkansas’ children’s and young adult librarians are already planning for the 2021 summer reading program.

Arkansas is a member of the Collaborative Summer Library Program. CSLP began in 1987 when ten Minnesota regional library systems developed a summer library program for children, choosing a theme, creating artwork, and selecting incentives that public libraries in the regions could purchase and use. Today CSLP includes representation from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam and the Mariana Islands. Arkansas joined in 2002.

The 2021 CSLP theme is Tails and Tales! Animals of all kinds roam the lands and soar through the air and many have both a Tail and a Tale! Participants are encouraged to explore the world of life around them and find out what is special about so many of the animals who live with us on our little blue planet.

Arkansas libraries may use the materials and the CSLP theme or create their own Summer Reading Program. Libraries can purchase any themed materials directly from CSLP through its website –


Using CARES Act funds, in 2020 the Arkansas State Library provided READsquared to every public library in the state to enable them to host virtual summer library programs. The contract has been renewed through 2022.

Arkansas libraries are able to conduct an online summer reading program with paperless logging, missions, points, badges and games already set up within READsquared. The contract allows every single public library outlet in the state to create their own program, including unique missions and badges and prize drawings for their local participants.

READsquared provides the ability for summer reading participants to:

  • Register for an account;
  • Create a personal avatar;
  • Log progress toward reading goals;
  • Take on the challenge of missions or games;
  • Receive invitations to online library events; and
  • Keep in touch with library staff.

READsquared can be used on a personal computer, smartphone, or tablet.

For more information on the Summer Reading Program or READsquared, contact Ruth Hyatt, Coordinator of Youth Services at

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