“On Your Mark, Get Set …READ!” The 2016 Summer Reading at New York Libraries season is about to begin! Summer Reading was a topic of high interest at the June Board of Regents meeting. As a former reading teacher, Commissioner Elia spoke passionately about the importance of libraries and reading programs for all students and families in New York State. She voiced her strong support for putting Summer Reading at New York Libraries “on steroids,” suggesting that the statewide goal be increased from 2 million to 2.5 million participants. I wholeheartedly agree! A link to the archived webcast of the June 13 Board of Regents meeting is available at: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings.

The State Library’s Sharon Phillips and Upper Hudson Library System’s Mary Fellows gave an informative presentation which begins at the 1:15:13 mark. As half the Board members are new appointments within the past year, they were excited to learn about this important library program. I encouraged the members of the Board of Regents to get involved in summer reading by contacting their local libraries. I also had the pleasure of announcing that the official statewide program launch event, with Commissioner Elia and other state and local dignitaries, would be held on June 20 at the Schenectady County Public Library’s fabulous new Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center. This event brought together leaders from the Mohawk Valley Library System, the Schenectady County Public Library, the State Library, the State Education Department, the State Legislature, Congressional offices, the County and City of Schenectady and the Schenectady City School District to help celebrate the official start of summer reading season.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries engages children, teens, and families in educational, fun learning activities all summer long. This year’s theme “On Your Mark, Get Set …READ” focuses on health, wellness, fitness, and sports. Public libraries and library systems play a critical role in carrying out this program, and have been hard at work planning innovative and enriching programs to offer all summer long. I am so grateful to our library leaders and the many partner organizations who work with the State Library to make New York’s program the best it can be. Partners such as the 4-H and Hunger Solutions NY provide key resources and services for local libraries. Read more about our great partners at http://www.summerreadingnys.org/librarians-educators/le-resources/

Library trustees play an important role in assuring that their libraries provide the best services for their communities. Please encourage your library staff and your community to take advantage of the many Summer Reading at New York Libraries resources provided through the State Library. Last year, 1.99 million children and teens participated in this popular program through more than 1,100 library sites. We need your help to spread the word about all the wonderful programs offered through libraries for children and families. Please share Summer Reading photos with us so we can post them on our web site! Send your photos to Sharon Phillips at

Happy Summer and Happy Reading!

From the Desk of Bernard A. Margolis,
New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries