Ames Free Library

"Where the Community Connects"

Youth Summer Reading Program 2020


Although this summer looks a little different than in years past, we’re continuing our summer reading fun right here! The library’s summer reading programs are just for fun (although they do encourage your child to get in those 20 minutes of reading each day!). There’s no competition, minimum requirement, or any other kind of pressure. Although the library itself is not open, we are offering curbside book pickup by appointment, or you can visit our Downloads page to use any of our three free download services.

Read and Bead

There will not be printed reading logs this year. Our entire program is conveniently online! We’re using the ReadSquared platform* to track your minutes read, and there are so many bonus features. Kids will earn points for the minutes they read, and will be able to redeem points they earn for beads! (See more about picking up beads below.) Kids can also earn virtual badges for challenges along the way (read for 20 minutes at least 5 days a week or participate in one of our virtual programs). As they earn points, they’ll also unlock little games and activities.

When you earn beads, Miss Jess will personally pick and bag them for you! You will have to schedule a time for curbside pickup - unfortunately kids will not be able to hand pick their own beads this year, nor will they be able to trade from one level to the next. Choose carefully before you place your bead order! You can save up points until you have enough for the beads you really want. Save time by scheduling your bead pickup along with your book pickup!

*Adults, ReadSquared is simple to use. You can access it on a PC or download the app. You’ll register using a login you create – and then it’s one click for the whole family! You can log time/books read for one family member, or everyone all at once. We’re running summer reading programs for adults (and teens!) too, so you might as well log your time spent reading while you’re in the app!

Family Fun Events

Social distancing won’t stop the fun! Join us online for five live virtual family performances. Programs will be presented at 6:00 PM on their respective dates, with recordings of each show available for the following two weeks. Check our Events & Recordings page for more information and links to each program or recording. Or you can also check our Kids Events page!

Weekly Activities

Virtual storytimes will continue through the summer. For older kids, we’ll also have a craft, STEM, or other general interest program each week that you can watch or participate in. Test your knowledge with Imagine Your Story quizzes, or try to puzzle your way through a virtual escape room on alternating weeks. We’ll even host a virtual Book Chat or two so kids can compare notes on what they’re reading, and maybe get some new ideas from each other. All events will be listed on our Events & Recordings page as well as our Kids’ Events page. 


See our Youth Summer Reading List 2020 page for school-specific reading requirements. You can still email Miss Jess for good book recommendations, and place holds on any books you want to read. Also STAY TUNED to our family blog throughout the summer to find out about upcoming events!