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Reimagining Summer at Your Library

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Reimagining Summer at Your Library

Stark Library

Education - Birth Thru Teens | 2021 | Honorable Mention

Innovation Summary

Reimagining Summer is an interactive program to combat learning loss and food insecurities in Canton. This program of innovative activities and food backpacks reached children (K-3) and caregivers in vulnerable communities — Nurturing creative thinking, strengthening family connections, feeding families, fostering school success and cultivating partners.

Problem Statement

According to data from the Ohio Department of Education, 56% of kids in Canton live in poverty and experience food insecurities, which together significantly impact learning loss. ODE suggested that communities work together to address this challenge. Stark Library saw an opportunity to advocate for the needs of children and families.

The library:

  • Built and facilitated a network of 13 community agencies and organizations
  • Targeted particularly vulnerable neighborhoods
  • Provided an inclusive, equitable program


We fed kids’ bodies and minds by providing weekly food along with interactive kits that strengthened reading and STEM skills, encouraged complex thinking skills and problem-solving and developed vocabulary and social skills through play and conversation.

This program:

  • Created activities with Reimagining School Readiness toolkit
  • Addressed food insecurity with meals
  • Supported families w/household items (wipes, kitchen utensils, gas cards) as reward incentives
  • Engaged vulnerable communities with bookmobile - 13 local partners


  • “These visits are a highlight of our week!”
  • Visited underserved kids/families weekly, reached 2,650 people (621 unduplicated), distributed 4207 kits.
  • New partners: metro housing & summer camps.
  • Weekly parent/educator/child surveys measured success:
    • Teachers reported these activities kept kids engaged in the learning process
    • 84% of adults either agreed/strongly agreed the activity was a valuable learning experience and/or their kids learned something new
    • Children stated they loved/liked many of the activities