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Colorado Statewide Summer Learning Program

Tails and Tales!

While the pandemic may again reshape library summer programs for 2021, there are many opportunities to support the kids and adults in your community with fun and enriching activities, online and offline. Check out the many resources and ideas below from the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), and colleagues from Colorado and across the country. 

The theme of this summer's program, illustrated by artist Salina Yoon, is Tails and Tales--think all things animals, great for all ages! Or, forego this--and any--theme this year and let unstructured learning and exploration abound! 

CO State Library 2021 programming resources

  • Fall Youth Services Workshop, Session 1: All things summer planning: A recap of summer 2020, the most unusual and challenging summer program ever--what worked, what didn't work, and lessons learned; online reading program platforms; hybrid in-person/remote programs; incentives; and planning in uncertain times.
  • Fall Youth Services Workshop, Session 2: All things early literacy: Join the State Library's Growing Readers Together team, Gail Yerbic, Melody Garcia and Kate Brunner, for these topics: kindergarten readiness in summer programming; outreach to caregivers; and early literacy (and summer learning programs) is everyone's job.
  • Fall Youth Services Workshop, Session 3: All things animals: Ideas for the 2021 CSLP theme of Tails and Tales. After an overview of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) and its 2021 program and manual, we'll discuss programming ideas in and beyond the CSLP manual for all ages, including in person, hybrid, online, take and make, outdoor, and socially distanced options.
  • Fall Youth Services Workshop, Session 4: All things volunteers, and more animals! In this session Becca Philipsen from Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) will provide an overview of the new CAL (Colorado Association of Libraries) summer reading interest group; following that we'll learn about PPLD's volunteer program and have a discussion about summer volunteers, and also continue for an hour with the discussion on animal-related programming ideas.
  • Take and Make Activities Database: Looking for new ideas for take and makes? Shop for ideas on this crowdsourced spreadsheet of take and makes from Colorado libraries! Do you have take and makes to share with colleagues? Use an easy form to share away!
  • Colorado Virtual Events Calendar: Looking to share your virtual events with a statewide audience, or find ideas for new virtual programs? This statewide calendar is for you:
  • 2020 Youth Services Meetings notes (Google doc folder)--a compendium of notes overflowing with ideas and tips from youth services staff from across Colorado following meetings on many topics
  • Colorado Performers' List (PDF)--a list of performers recommended by Colorado library staff

CSLP 2021 programming resources

General summer learning resources

  • The Summer Food Service Program is more important than ever this year, and partnering with your local program provides an excellent opportunity to provide your summer program to more kids this summer; learn more about the program and find partnering suggestions in CSLP's toolkit.
  • The Teen Video Challenge is a great program to share with teens in your community! Teens can create and submit their video completely remotely.
  • Check out these recommendations for performers for summer and year round from your Colorado library colleagues; many are offering virtual programs this year.
  • Interested in an online reading program system?
    • The State Library is sponsoring a limited number of Colorado public libraries to use of ReadingRecord for free or a discounted rate. Find out more here.
    • Or, peruse this overview of 8 online reading program tracking systems.
  • Thinking ahead?
    • The theme for 2022 is oceanography, with the slogan Oceans of Possibilities
    • The theme for 2023 is friendship and kindness, with the slogan All Together Now
    • The theme for 2024 is adventure (slogan TBD)
  • Be sure to join the Colorado youth services email list (CYS-Lib) to keep informed about all things summer learning related!

Professional Development

  • The National Summer Learning Association is providing a great array of free summer learning webinars; previous live sessions are all archived for you to view at your convenience.
  • Read about the benefits to kids of reading over the summer, best practices for summer reading programs, and research needs in CSLP's (Collaborative Summer Library Program) Summer Reading White Paper.

About Summer Learning in Colorado Libraries

Colorado is a member of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries. By combining resources and working with a commercial vendor to produce materials designed exclusively for CSLP members, public libraries in participating states or systems can purchase posters, reading logs, bookmarks, certificates and a variety of reading incentives at significant savings. The participating systems and states develop a unified and high-quality promotional and programming product. Participants have access to the same artwork, incentives and publicity, in addition to an extensive manual of programming and promotional ideas.

Especially for Educators

Especially for Parents, Grandparents, and Caregivers

  • Summer Learning in Public Libraries: Outlines why and how to engage your family in reading, learning, and enjoying your local public library this summer
  • Summer Reading Parent Tips (PDF): Simple activities for your family this summer to help keep your kids and teens reading--and having fun while doing so!


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