Summer Reading Challenge begins at Carnegie Library


Last updated 6/17/2021 at 9:39am

This year's summer reading challenge is simple – read five books between June 13 and August 31.

For decades, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has worked to prevent the decline in reading achievement by reminding children and parents about the importance of summer reading. This summer will be even more critically important for students to read.

According to UNESCO, nearly 90 percent of the world's student population has experienced disruptive learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early childhood development experts expect it will have an impact on the progression of learning. In particular, third through fifth graders lose about 20 percent of their reading gains over the summer, according to a 2020 report by NWEA. 

Kids learn best when their learning is not interrupted. To connect with kids, teens and caregivers and encourage reading this summer, CLP has purchased books to giveaway to children and teens to add to their home library.

Starting June 13, patrons ages birth to 18 were eligible to receive a free book (while supplies last) every time they visit a CLP location this summer. Children and teens do not need to take part in the library's official Summer Reading program to receive a book.

CLP is also working with community organizations to get books into the hands of children and teens who need them. The library is providing free take home books to students participating in Pittsburgh Public School's Summer Boost program and is partnering with organizations across the city to giveaway 10,000 books.

Kids need to see adults reading. Adults who have children in their lives should be encouraged to think about how they can help young people read five this summer. And for adults who do not have children in their lives, they can participate by setting goals and logging their own reading. 

This summer, CLP is asking the community to band together to ensure all Pittsburgh youth read at least five books this summer. The library has reached out to some of Pittsburgh's most beloved icons and personalities to share why they love reading. Keep an eye out on CLP's social media channels to see inspiring messages from Shark Tank star and Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban, 100.7 FM's Melanie Taylor, local filmmaker Dean Bog and more.

Patrons can get in on the fun by sharing their own video encouraging Pittsburgh kids to read five books this summer. Whether it's describing a favorite childhood book, sharing what's on your reading list this summer, getting creative with the number five, or simply cheering on Pittsburgh kids, it's easy to participate. Post a video (60 seconds or less) to your Instagram or Twitter and tag @carnegielibrary. Use the hashtag #PGHReadsFive in your caption to join the citywide Summer Reading conversation. 

In 2019, the library recorded its highest number of books read with a total of 208,669 books, eBooks and audiobooks logged from June through August. There are three ways to log books this summer:

Similar to previous years, summer reading participants can create a free account at and log reading materials including books, eBooks and audiobooks read between June 13 and August 31, 2021.

Recognizing that not all households want to participate virtually, a limited number of reading logs will be available at all CLP locations for kids and teens to pick up alongside their free book. In late May, the library mailed reading logs to households in the City of Pittsburgh. By mailing and distributing paper logs, the library is working to bridge the technology divide and engage as many children, teens and adults as possible in Summer Reading.

Sign up using the Beanstack Tracker App, which can be found in the Apple App store or Google Play store.

All Summer Reading participants, whether they participate by paper or online, are encouraged to work towards the goal of completing five books – though participants are always encouraged to read as much as they like. Participants are also asked to post their current reads on social media by tagging @carnegielibrary with the hashtag #PGHReadsFive.

To learn more about the Carnegie Library's 2021 Summer Reading campaign, visit


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