Coloured flags under a sign with the words'family book bags'

The school library is at the heart of reading in the school. It can also be a catalyst and important support for putting books in students' hands during the summer break and school holidays.

As the librarian, you have a critical role in the school as a promoter and advocate for creating a reading culture. You can strengthen your school's summer reading initiatives by:

  • sharing your knowledge of and enthusiasm for children’s and young adult (YA) literature
  • providing resources and services
  • stimulating discussion and enthusiasm
  • contributing to creating a reading community.

This page gives some suggestions for how your school library can support your school's summer reading planning team.

  • Promote summer reading to students

    Create enticing displays and use your online channel

    Set up summer reading displays in the library, showing pictures of people reading on holiday, accompanied by quotes and messages of encouragement. Celebrate returned books at the beginning of the new year, acknowledging books read, cared for and returned.

    Highlight popular books in displays and book lists, drawing on the data in your library management system, for example:

    • class favourites — fiction or non-fiction
    • most popular authors or titles
    • teachers' favourites
    • most borrowed books from your library this year
    • great reads, popular series
    • 'read-alikes' — 'if you like this … then try this ... '.

    Promote holiday reading through online channels such as your library blog or website.

    Encourage reading for pleasure

    Help students choose easy and enjoyable books with the focus on reading for pleasure — promoting the message about keeping summer reading fun.

    Suggest some friendly goals, for example, to read a certain number of books or minutes a day.

    Use our summer reading log (pdf, 518KB)

    Motivate younger readers

    In primary schools, create bookmarks with titles and space for the reader to write a short review.

    Teach younger children about caring for books — book bags, keeping books in a particular place.

    Encourage book discussion and sharing

    Many children and teens figure out what to read from conversations with friends, peers, librarians and teachers, and through social media and websites like LibraryThing and Goodreads.

    To encourage sharing you can:

    • share reading recommendations and reviews, book talks and promotion
    • put notes in books for students about why you are recommending this book for them and others who have enjoyed it
    • set up online opportunities for book sharing and recording, for example, a blog or website or a social account on LibraryThing or Goodreads
    • celebrate summer readers in the new school year, with displays, photos, comments on favourite books, and opportunities for people to share their holiday reading discoveries and recommendations
    • run a 'bring a book or swap a book' programme, especially for copies of fiction series such as Goosebumps, PonyPals, Skulduggery Pleasant, Percy Jackson.

    LibraryThing

    Goodreads

    Support students who're changing schools

    • Have holiday reading throughout the year.
    • Look at making special arrangements for students leaving at the end of the year. For example, their siblings who are still at the school could return their books.
    • Promote public library membership and borrowing to students who're leaving.
    • Suggest other options for students to get books, for example, swap books or use the Duffy Books in Homes programme.
    • Coordinate with local schools. Allow books borrowed from one school to be returned to the library at the student's new school. If you're a secondary school library, consider issuing items to year 8 intermediate school students who've enrolled as year 9 students in your school.

    Duffy Books in Homes

    Families — keeping your child or teen reading over summer

  • Promote summer reading to students

    Create enticing displays and use your online channel

    Set up summer reading displays in the library, showing pictures of people reading on holiday, accompanied by quotes and messages of encouragement. Celebrate returned books at the beginning of the new year, acknowledging books read, cared for and returned.

    Highlight popular books in displays and book lists, drawing on the data in your library management system, for example:

    • class favourites — fiction or non-fiction
    • most popular authors or titles
    • teachers' favourites
    • most borrowed books from your library this year
    • great reads, popular series
    • 'read-alikes' — 'if you like this … then try this ... '.

    Promote holiday reading through online channels such as your library blog or website.

    Encourage reading for pleasure

    Help students choose easy and enjoyable books with the focus on reading for pleasure — promoting the message about keeping summer reading fun.

    Suggest some friendly goals, for example, to read a certain number of books or minutes a day.

    Use our summer reading log (pdf, 518KB)

    Motivate younger readers

    In primary schools, create bookmarks with titles and space for the reader to write a short review.

    Teach younger children about caring for books — book bags, keeping books in a particular place.

    Encourage book discussion and sharing

    Many children and teens figure out what to read from conversations with friends, peers, librarians and teachers, and through social media and websites like LibraryThing and Goodreads.

    To encourage sharing you can:

    • share reading recommendations and reviews, book talks and promotion
    • put notes in books for students about why you are recommending this book for them and others who have enjoyed it
    • set up online opportunities for book sharing and recording, for example, a blog or website or a social account on LibraryThing or Goodreads
    • celebrate summer readers in the new school year, with displays, photos, comments on favourite books, and opportunities for people to share their holiday reading discoveries and recommendations
    • run a 'bring a book or swap a book' programme, especially for copies of fiction series such as Goosebumps, PonyPals, Skulduggery Pleasant, Percy Jackson.

    LibraryThing

    Goodreads

    Support students who're changing schools

    • Have holiday reading throughout the year.
    • Look at making special arrangements for students leaving at the end of the year. For example, their siblings who are still at the school could return their books.
    • Promote public library membership and borrowing to students who're leaving.
    • Suggest other options for students to get books, for example, swap books or use the Duffy Books in Homes programme.
    • Coordinate with local schools. Allow books borrowed from one school to be returned to the library at the student's new school. If you're a secondary school library, consider issuing items to year 8 intermediate school students who've enrolled as year 9 students in your school.

    Duffy Books in Homes

    Families — keeping your child or teen reading over summer

  • Maximise use of your library collection

    There is nothing more problematic, for me, than kids with no books to read and schools with libraries filled with books that no one will read over the summer. So my advice always begins with “Empty out your school library before the final day of school".
    — Richard L. Allington, co-author "Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap"

    The summer break is a good time to get books off your library shelves into the hands of readers.

    Here are a few ways you can make this happen:

    • Create more reader-friendly policies — change the default settings on your library management system to allow more generous and borrowing entitlements and loan periods.
    • Increase access to the library — open the school library for a few hours once or twice in January for students to exchange their books. You may need to consider whether this will be paid or done on a voluntary basis, and whether there may be security issues.
    • Use incentives for book returns. Review how your school library's policies about overdue or lost books affect continued borrowing by students. Consider any impact this may have on their literacy development.
    • Ensure stocktaking can either be done while the library remains open, or rescheduled to another time of year.

    Reader-friendly policies

    Plan a summer reading initiative

  • Maximise use of your library collection

    There is nothing more problematic, for me, than kids with no books to read and schools with libraries filled with books that no one will read over the summer. So my advice always begins with “Empty out your school library before the final day of school".
    — Richard L. Allington, co-author "Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap"

    The summer break is a good time to get books off your library shelves into the hands of readers.

    Here are a few ways you can make this happen:

    • Create more reader-friendly policies — change the default settings on your library management system to allow more generous and borrowing entitlements and loan periods.
    • Increase access to the library — open the school library for a few hours once or twice in January for students to exchange their books. You may need to consider whether this will be paid or done on a voluntary basis, and whether there may be security issues.
    • Use incentives for book returns. Review how your school library's policies about overdue or lost books affect continued borrowing by students. Consider any impact this may have on their literacy development.
    • Ensure stocktaking can either be done while the library remains open, or rescheduled to another time of year.

    Reader-friendly policies

    Plan a summer reading initiative

  • Promote and liaise with your local public library

    If your school is participating in the Reading Together® programme, it may have a relationship already with the public library that you can build on.

    Ways to encourage families to join and use the public library

    • Make public library registration forms available in the school foyer, along with a display that includes an invitation to visit, the library's opening hours, a photo of the librarian and the library's location with a map.
    • Promote library membership and holiday programmes in packs for parents new to the school, and through the school newsletter, website and at school events.
    • Talk about how you use the library, show your library card, talk about when you visit, and how you avoid overdue books.
    • Take students to visit the library on a class visit. Using public transport from the home suburb to the public library encourages older students to visit the library independently.

    Gather data to monitor uptake

    Survey students to find out how many have a public library card and/or visit the public library.

    Use the survey data in a promotion campaign or set a school goal of increasing membership by x%. 

    Re-survey after the promotion to see if it's made a difference to library membership levels.

  • Promote and liaise with your local public library

    If your school is participating in the Reading Together® programme, it may have a relationship already with the public library that you can build on.

    Ways to encourage families to join and use the public library

    • Make public library registration forms available in the school foyer, along with a display that includes an invitation to visit, the library's opening hours, a photo of the librarian and the library's location with a map.
    • Promote library membership and holiday programmes in packs for parents new to the school, and through the school newsletter, website and at school events.
    • Talk about how you use the library, show your library card, talk about when you visit, and how you avoid overdue books.
    • Take students to visit the library on a class visit. Using public transport from the home suburb to the public library encourages older students to visit the library independently.

    Gather data to monitor uptake

    Survey students to find out how many have a public library card and/or visit the public library.

    Use the survey data in a promotion campaign or set a school goal of increasing membership by x%. 

    Re-survey after the promotion to see if it's made a difference to library membership levels.

  • Encourage and model staff reading

    It's important for all staff, in particular librarians and teachers, to be reading role models who read and know children's and YA fiction.

    To encourage teachers to read you could:

    • provide teachers with a bag of books to read over the summer — your personal recommendations from your own reading and knowledge of their interests or student year level
    • encourage teachers to borrow books to read over the summer, from the school library, public library or from your reading engagement loan from the National Library Services to Schools collection
    • use borrower information from the library management system to focus on students and their reading preferences.

    Teachers — prepare your students for summer reading

    School staff as readers

    Read over summer yourself

    Reading over the summer is enjoyable, and builds your knowledge of children's and YA literature. In turn, you'll become a great reading role model. Keeping up your reading (not only over summer) is an essential part of a school librarian’s job, enabling you to share your enjoyment and make recommendations to students.

    Most librarians are avid readers and don’t need much encouraging to take home armfuls of books to read for pleasure. In doing so, you'll be actively contributing to the school’s reading culture.

  • Encourage and model staff reading

    It's important for all staff, in particular librarians and teachers, to be reading role models who read and know children's and YA fiction.

    To encourage teachers to read you could:

    • provide teachers with a bag of books to read over the summer — your personal recommendations from your own reading and knowledge of their interests or student year level
    • encourage teachers to borrow books to read over the summer, from the school library, public library or from your reading engagement loan from the National Library Services to Schools collection
    • use borrower information from the library management system to focus on students and their reading preferences.

    Teachers — prepare your students for summer reading

    School staff as readers

    Read over summer yourself

    Reading over the summer is enjoyable, and builds your knowledge of children's and YA literature. In turn, you'll become a great reading role model. Keeping up your reading (not only over summer) is an essential part of a school librarian’s job, enabling you to share your enjoyment and make recommendations to students.

    Most librarians are avid readers and don’t need much encouraging to take home armfuls of books to read for pleasure. In doing so, you'll be actively contributing to the school’s reading culture.

  • Promote summer reading to parents

    To promote and support summer reading among families you might:

    • allow family borrowing over the holidays and help parents know what their children might like to read
    • set up family and whānau cards for students’ families to borrow from the school library
    • provide summer reading guidelines — on display and to take away.

    Families — keeping your child or teen reading over summer

  • Promote summer reading to parents

    To promote and support summer reading among families you might:

    • allow family borrowing over the holidays and help parents know what their children might like to read
    • set up family and whānau cards for students’ families to borrow from the school library
    • provide summer reading guidelines — on display and to take away.

    Families — keeping your child or teen reading over summer

  • Find out more

    Successful summer reading programmes — the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa's (SLANZA) resource to help school library staff create summer reading programmes. Includes a number of case studies.

  • Find out more

    Successful summer reading programmes — the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa's (SLANZA) resource to help school library staff create summer reading programmes. Includes a number of case studies.