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


PHILADELPHIA, June 10, 2014—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 2014 Summer Reading program on Tuesday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. at the Parkway Central Library. This year’s Summer Reading program challenges Philadelphia’s children, teens, and adults to read as much as possible so that they can collective topple last year’s challenge goal and read a grand total of 30 million minutes!

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon opened the kickoff and was joined by Jack Ginter, Senior Managing Director at Abbott Downing. Abbott Downing provides products and services through Wells Fargo, which is a co-lead sponsor of Summer Reading and has generously supported the program for over 20 years. Other co-lead sponsors are Comcast, NBC 10, and Telemundo. In addition to special story sessions headed by members of the Wells Fargo team, students participated in a craft workshop hosted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, took home healthy snacks and information from a special Whole Foods station, and got excited about reading with a surprise visit from the Phillie Phanatic!

The Free Library’s Summer Reading 30-Million-Minute Challenge takes place from June 16 through August 8, 2014, 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 and literacy-based craft workshops. In addition, the Free Library is excited to offer special Summer Reading programming for teens, including gaming tournaments and teen book clubs. 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, 2014. 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 helps you grow stronger as a reader and as a student—and it’s also a lot of fun,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, Free Library President and Director. “This year’s 30-Million-Minute Challenge is a big goal for sure, but I am confident that Philadelphians of all ages will not only meet but exceed it! We are especially grateful to our presenting sponsors Wells Fargo and Comcast 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 Greg Redden, 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 over 20 years because we understand that literacy skills are a prime component of a child’s success in school and in life.”

In addition to co-presenting sponsors Wells Fargo, Comcast, NBC 10, and Telemundo, Summer Reading is made possible by Anonymous, CRW Graphics, Elliott-Lewis, Kinder Morgan, Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, PKG Foundation, Republic Bank, Teva Pharmaceuticals, UGI, and UPS. In-kind donors include Herr’s Foods Inc., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Phillies, Whole Foods, Hard Rock Café Philadelphia, Quirk Books, Rita’s Water Ice, Thunderbird Bowling Centers, the City of Philadelphia, and the School District of Philadelphia.

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 61-location Free Library of Philadelphia system advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. With more than 6 million in-person and 9 million online visits annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.



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