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 announces the 2013 season of the popular summer program that encourages reading among children, teens, and adults—now with a towering new challenge!

PHILADELPHIA, June 11, 2013—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 2013 Summer Reading program on Tuesday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the Parkway Central Library. This year’s Summer Reading program has a big twist—and a big challenge—for Philadelphia’s children, teens, and adults: The Free Library is challenging Summer Reading participants to collectively read a whopping total of 20 million minutes over the course of the program!

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon opened the kick off and welcomed Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis and City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. They were joined by by Aldustus (AJ) Jordan, Vice President of Community Affairs at Wells Fargo and Charles M. Shechtman, Founding Shareholder of Shechtman Marks Devor PC—the program’s co-title sponsors—who read to Philadelphia school students in attendance. Wells Fargo has generously supported Summer Reading for the past 20 years, and Shechtman Marks Devor PC is supporting Summer Reading in celebration of their 35th anniversary as a company. In addition to the special story sessions, the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosted a craft workshop, and the Phillie Phanatic made a surprise appearance to get the students excited about reading!

The Free Library’s Summer Reading: 20-Million-Minute Challenge takes place from June 17 through August 9, 2013, and combines books and reading with special events and activities for students of all ages. This flagship Library program supports literacy in Philadelphia by encouraging more than 50,000 children, teens, and adults to read and participate in Library programming during the summer months. Studies indicate that students who read six or more books over their school vacation can prevent summer “brain drain” and even make gains in their reading levels.

Students from preschool through sixth grade can keep track of their reading progress with a special Summer Reading game board and participate in fun programming, including hands-on science experiments, literacy-based craft workshops, and just-for-kids book clubs. In addition, the Free Library is excited to offer special Summer Reading programming for teens, including juggling lessons, gaming tournaments, creative writing workshops, and more. Summer Reading also welcomes summer camps, preschools, and other groups to participate in the program by scheduling a visit to any Free Library location or requesting a visit from their local librarian.

In addition to the exciting Summer Reading programming taking place throughout the Free Library system, Online Summer Reading runs now through August 31, 2013. Children, teens, and adults can submit book reviews at to have their names entered in online prize raffles held throughout the summer.

“Maintaining good reading habits over the summer months not only helps you learn and grow—it’s a lot of fun, too!” said Siobhan A. Reardon, Free Library President and Director. “This year’s special 20-Million-Minute Challenge may seem like a huge task to undertake, but I am confident that our voracious Summer Reading bookworms will not only meet but exceed this towering goal! We are especially grateful to our lead sponsors Wells Fargo and Shechtman Marks Devor PC for making Summer Reading possible.”

“After Philadelphia’s public schools, the Free Library offers more activities for children and teens—free of cost—than any other organization in the city,” said Vince Liuzzi, Wells Fargo’s Greater Philadelphia/Delaware Region President.“The Summer Reading Program is especially important because it encourages children to read as much as possible while they are outside of the school year’s structured environment. This type of reading has been proven to sustain and improve reading skills in children and teens. Wells Fargo has been proud to offer its support to the Summer Reading Program for the past 20 years because we understand that literacy skills are a prime component of a child’s success in school and in life.”

“In celebration of our company’s 35th anniversary this year, Shechtman Marks Devor PC is proud to sponsor Summer Reading at the Free Library,” said Charles M. Shechtman, Founding Shareholder of Shechtman Marks Devor PC. “Every summer, more than 50,000 Philadelphia school students depend on the Free Library to keep them engaged with reading and improve their literacy skills. Summer Reading makes a significant difference in the lives of our city’s young learners, and we couldn’t be more excited for the chance to sponsor such an important program and volunteer our time with the Free Library.”

In addition to title sponsors Wells Fargo and Shechtman Marks Devor PC, Summer Reading is made possible by the Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, PKG Foundation, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Harriet and Larry Weiss, Republic Bank, The Philadelphia Contributionship, Beneficial Foundation, and UGI Corporation, with media sponsorship from Telemundo. In-kind donors include Herr’s Foods Inc., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Phillies, Hard Rock Café Philadelphia, Rita’s Water Ice, and Thunderbird Bowling Centers.

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

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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