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


Phillie Phanatic makes special appearance to help students get excited about reading

The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 2015 Summer Reading program on Monday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. at the Parkway Central Library. This year’s Summer Reading program theme, “The Summer of Wonder,” is inspired by the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and features special programming that focuses on a different topic of brain-bending wonder each week, from magnet mazes and Mad Hatter card games to chess and cryptology brain teasers.


The Free Library’s Summer Reading “The Summer of Wonder” program takes place from June 15 through August 7, 2015, 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.

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon opened the kickoff and was joined by Zachariah OHora, the award-winning children’s book illustrator who designed the Summer Reading artwork, along with Antonio Pelosi, Community Banking District Manager at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo 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, Telemundo, and Comcast Spectator. 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 and got excited about reading with a surprise visit from the Phillie Phanatic!

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, 2015. Children, teens, and adults can submit book reviews at to have their names entered in online prize raffles held throughout the summer. In addition, each week a new hands-on activity that children can easily complete at home will be revealed online at

“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. “I encourage students of all ages to enjoy a summer full of wonder at the Free Library as they explore their world and dive into some great books and projects! 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,” 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, Telemundo, and Comcast Spectator, Summer Reading is made possible by Brodart, CRW Graphics, Elliott-Lewis, Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, and UGI. In-kind donors include Herr’s Foods Inc., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Please Touch Museum, Quirk Books, Rita’s Water Ice, Shake Shack, Thunderbird Lanes, 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 visitors and millions more 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