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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mississippi Public Libraries Host Successful Summer Programs

Susan Liles
PR Director
Mississippi Library Commission

Summer Library Programs have become more popular across Mississippi as a way to keep children's reading skills proficient while away from the classroom. The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) is a member of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) which is a nationwide consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children, teens, and adults at the lowest cost possible for their public libraries.

MLC assists Mississippi public libraries with the costs related to membership in CSLP, and provides the manuals, posters, and other materials. MLC also offers workshops for those libraries interested in participating. Local funding makes up about 96% of the costs related to offering the programs, so the majority of the support is on a community level.

There are four separate manuals to the annual program that include a children's program, an early literacy program, a teen program, and an adult program. Since 2013, public library participation in all four of the programs has risen from 9 library systems to 20 systems in 2016.

The children's program alone reported 164,716 attendees with 7,262,601 minutes read, which is over 21, 043 hours or 5,043 days. There were 8,201 teen participants and 6,506 adults who took part. These total 179,423 participants during the program months of June and July.

Public library participants have been successful in building community partnerships by working with their local parks and recreation departments, 4-H groups, athletic teams, and local businesses. They have recruited senior and tween volunteers to assist with the program and to serve as reading coaches.

Library systems serve many patrons who are from underprivileged areas of Mississippi. Susan Cassagne, Executive Director of MLC, stated, "It is very important for this agency to be able to help public libraries offer this essential program to the residents of their communities. Many of these students were able to start the school year at a higher reading level due to their participation."

For more information on Summer Library Programs, contact MLC Senior Consultant Mac Buntin at

The Mississippi Library Commission supports innovative programs and initiatives to strengthen and enhance library services for all Mississippians. The agency is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, with additional funding provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), offering leadership in library services, advocacy, and training for library professionals and paraprofessionals.

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