Kids Reading

Children participating in Indianapolis Public Library’s Summer Reading Program in 1971. (Photo provided)

School is out, which means many children will have free time on their hands. The Indianapolis Public Library offers a fun, educational program that celebrates the joys of reading, while keeping children intellectually engaged during summer break. 

The Indianapolis Public Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary of the Summer Reading Program this year. The program, “Keepin’ it 100,” will run from June 3 to July 27 and participants can register at any Indianapolis Public Library branch. 

Readers can either check out or download a book from any Indianapolis Public Library branch, with a library card. Once participants return books, they can head to the summer reading desk to redeem points. 

Each book category has a different point value. Categories include picture books, chapter books, graphic novels and young adult novels. In addition, a family read aloud option is available for children who are unable to read. 

At 100 points, readers can receive a reward bundle — an assortment of prizes from three different groups. Participants can select a free book from the first group. The second group includes prizes such as water arcade games and slime. Group three prizes include an Indianapolis Colts pass, Eiteljorg Museum pass and Indy Parks pool pass. 

Fountain Square, Garfield Park, Glendale and Irvington locations will kick off the summer reading program June 1. 

Raymond Featherstone, 87, received a summer reading certificate from the program in 1937. He remembers books as an important part of his family heritage. Featherstone went on to earn one bachelor’s degree and three master’s degrees- — including one from Harvard. 

“I enjoy the reading process,” Featherstone said. “It really gave me a foundation of learning.” 

The program is also a way for The Center for Black Literature and Culture (CBLC) to promote books about Black culture and by Black authors. CBLC leader Nichelle M. Hayes believes representation in books has a huge impact on children and offering books with diverse representation can encourage African American readers. 

“I believe nobody is a reluctant reader, but they just have not found material that speaks to them,” Hayes said.

For more information on the Summer Reading Program, visit

Contact newsroom intern Jaclyn Ferguson at


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