For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Free Library of Imagination celebrates a new season of popular summer program that encourages reading among children and teens

PHILADELPHIA, May 21, 2010—The Free Library of Philadelphia and special guests will kick off this year’s Summer Reading program—Make a Splash @ Your Library—on Wednesday, June 2 at 10:00 a.m. at the Parkway Central Library.

Running from June 16 through August 11, the Summer Reading program supports literacy by encouraging more than 57,000 children and teens to read during the summer months—studies continue to suggest that the simple act of reading six or more books during the summer can help students avoid “learning loss” and even make gains in their reading levels.

The Summer Reading kickoff will celebrate a new season of the annual program, which combines reading with events, activities, and a special game board that helps students keep track of their progress and gives “players” the chance to win prizes from participating sponsors. Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon will open the kickoff and greet attendees—including Philadelphia school students—and be joined by representatives from co-lead sponsors, Verizon Pennsylvania and Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company.

During the event, students will flex their creativity at a craft station staffed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, spark their imaginations during storytelling sessions, sign up for Summer Reading, and dance during a surprise visit from a special friend—the Phillie Phanatic!

“Summer Reading officially begins in two weeks, and we owe a heartfelt ‘thanks’ to the community members, organizations, and businesses who helped us fill our shelves with new books during the second annual 10,000 Books for Children book drive,” said Library President and Director Siobhan Reardon. “It is incredibly inspiring to witness the civic-mindedness of companies like Barnes and Noble and VILLA, as well as the many sponsors of Summer Reading. Our summer readers thank you!”

“At Wachovia, we know that the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Summer Reading Program is a vital part of a child’s continuing education and we are proud to be a lead sponsor of this summertime tradition for the 18th consecutive year,” said Vince Liuzzi, Wachovia’s Regional President for Greater Philadelphia/Delaware. “Literacy skills are one of the building blocks of success in school and in life, and we are proud to offer Wachovia’s financial and volunteer support to help the Summer Reading Program reach as many students as possible.”

“Education is the key that can unlock a brighter future for every child,” said Gale Y. Given, President of Verizon Pennsylvania. “Verizon recognizes the diverse array of resources and activities available to all who walk through the doors of the Free Library of Philadelphia and its neighborhood branches. We are proud to play a role in this year’s Summer Reading program.”

For the second year in a row the Free Library will offer a bi-lingual program at 11 branches selected for their large Spanish speaking populations. Telemundo, the Spanish language TV station, partnered with the Free Library to translate materials and provide additional promotional and programmatic opportunities.

Summer Reading is additionally supported by the PKG Foundation, the Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, the Patricia Kind Family Foundation, and the UGI Corporation. Special prizes have been donated by the Philadelphia Phillies, Dunkin’ Donuts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Telemundo, Herr’s, Clementon Park, VILLA, 100.3 The Beat, Auntie Anne’s, Thunderbird Bowling Centers, Rita’s Italian Ice, Hard Rock Café Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.

For more information and to sign up for the Summer Reading program, visit, call 215-686-5372, or visit your local branches.

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850