What’s This Thing Called Summer of Learning?

teens in a group photo by vancouver film schoolIn mid-November I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Changes Everythingâ„¢ national conference on summer learning and have been thinking ever since about the library’s role in this area and what the impact is for teens. First, I think it’s important to point out a few things:

  • The summer of learning concept is not new. It might be new to libraries but it has been around for awhile. In 2000 the Center for Summer Learning was created by Johns Hopkins – a spin-off of a successful project they had going on in Baltimore – and in 2009 the Center became the National Summer of Learning Association.
  • The idea behind the summer of learning is to help students of all ages keep up in a variety of subject areas during the summer months. This of course includes reading, which libraries have focused on for a long time, AND math (another area in which young people lose skills over the summer), and really all other subject areas that young people need to keep up on in order to not fall behind by the start of a new school year in the fall.
  • Many school districts, community based organizations, funders, and local agencies are looking at ways to stop the summer slide in math, reading, STEM area,nutrition and more. The library needs to partner with those institutions in order to serve teens successfully. Continue reading