The New York Public Library Is Giving Away Half-a-Million Free Books This Summer

The initiative is part of NYPL's Summer at the Library program.

Photo by Jonathan Blanc, courtesy of NYPL

The New York Public Library wants New Yorkers to have a productive summer, and it's willing to help them do so for free.

As part of its recently launched Summer at the Library program, NYPL is giving away 500,000 new librarian-approved books for families to keep. New Yorkers who wish to pick up a free good book can do so by visiting any NYPL branch and some select pop-up events and programs happening in parks around the city. Some of the branches distributing free books will also have texts in Spanish, Chinese, and large print available.

The initiative comes from NYPL's desire to help New Yorkers build their own library and to encourage citizens to read more. In addition to free books, NYPL's Summer in the Library will also include a series of free programs for both teens and adults across 92 locations. These events will focus on the love for reading and learning, and will help students fight the so-called "summer slide" and prevent them from forgetting their school-learned material.

The program will include activities and workshops like summer reading for kids and teens, reading recommendations put together by NYPL librarians, and even library initiatives for adults.

"New York City students and families have been through so much over the last two years. It's critical that, during this period of recovery and renewal, our ecosystem of learning do all it can to support and engage them," Brian Bannon, NYPL's Merryl and James Tisch director of branch libraries and education, said in a statement. "Public libraries are uniquely positioned to do this while students are out of the classroom over the summer months, providing quality, free programs to engage their minds while also getting them excited about books, reading, learning, and their communities. After so much time apart, it's time to safely come together this summer."

For a complete list of events and programs, you can visit this page on the NYPL website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.