Summer Reading: How to Participate in Indy and Carmel Library Programs

We’ve all heard of the dreaded “summer slide,” when a child loses some of the academic ground he or she gained throughout the school year during the summer months. 

Now we’re hearing of “COVID-19 slide,” which is the same idea, but with a spicy side of global pandemic.

To help Hoosiers keep their minds sharp this summer, the Indianapolis Public Library and Carmel Clay Public Library will be substituting their normal in-person summer programming with a range of virtual programming. 

Indianapolis Public Library

To serve kids of every reading ability better, the Indianapolis Public Library already had plans to revamp their summer reading program, even before COVID-19 happened. Doing away with counting how many books a child reads, kids can now earn points and prizes this summer based on how many minutes they read instead.

“There’s research out there that says kids should read 20 minutes a day to prevent summer slide,” says Sharon Bernhardt, an IPL librarian. “So this summer, we’re counting how many minutes kids read, not how many books they read.”

With a top goal of reading 10 hours this summer, kids can earn prizes along the way by tracking their reading minutes right at home with a mobile app called Beanstack. For people who may not have access to the app, library branch phone lines will remain open for folks to call in, sign up and track their reading hours with a librarian. Kids who are not quite at reading level yet will also be able to qualify for prizes through a variety of activities that you can find on their website. Prizes this summer include a brand new bicycle at every branch, toys, movie and museum tickets, and more. All are encouraged to participate in this summer’s reading program, June 1-August 1.

At the time this article is being written, IPL is in the process of sorting out virtual summer programming and curbside book pickup service. In the meantime, the library has expanded their digital services, for kids and adults alike. Learn more at

Carmel Clay Public Library 

To stay ahead of the changes that we will undoubtedly continue to experience, Carmel Clay Public Library is working hard to make all of their programming virtual through the end of the year. Beginning June 1, they will also be transitioning their summer reading program over to the Beanstack app to make it accessible from anywhere, and the prize system looks a little different than it usually does.

This year, rather than receiving personal prizes, readers who participate in the program will earn food donations for the Carmel Summer Meals Program, an initiative of the Carmel Youth Assistance Program to help provide sustenance for families throughout the summer. In addition to helping their community in this way, the Carmel library has committed to erasing any overdue library fines for everyone who signs up to participate in the summer program. And yes, adults can also participate! 

Doing their part to stir up a love of reading while taking care of their community, the Carmel Clay Public Library hopes Hoosiers will get lost in a few books for a good cause this summer. Learn more at

Summer Reading List Suggestions 

Picture Books 

Early Readers 

Chapter Books/Middle Grade 

Graphic Novels 



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