COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Metropolitan Library is launching its summer reading challenge on Thursday with kickoff celebrations at all locations.

The challenge aims to keep young readers from losing critical literacy skills during the summer months. Loss of these skills is often referred to as the “summer slide,” the library said, and places children at a distinct learning disadvantage once school begins again in the fall.

“The pandemic’s lingering impact on our young minds and their ability to learn cannot be overstated,” said CML Public Services Director Miya Reyes. “Helping them get back on track starts with books and reading. This is especially critical during the out-of-school months.”

Starting Thursday, customers of all ages can sign up one of three ways:

Participants will need a free CML library card in order to participate this year. Once signed up, customers will track their progress as they read for 15 minutes a day for 30 days to earn prizes and raffle entries to win even more prizes.

CML is holding kickoff celebrations at all 23 of its locations featuring family fun, games, activities, music and refreshments:

  • Barnett Branch: Thursday from 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Canal Winchester Branch: Thursday from 3-4 p.m.
  • Driving Park Branch: Saturday from 2-4 p.m.
  • Dublin Branch: Thursday from 3-6 p.m.
  • Franklinton Branch: Thursday from 3-5 p.m.
  • Gahanna Branch: Thursday from 2-4 p.m.
  • Hilliard Branch: Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Hilltop Branch: Saturday from 2-3 p.m.
  • Karl Road Branch: Saturday from 12-3 p.m.
  • Linden Branch: Thursday from 2:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Main Library: Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Marion-Franklin Branch: Friday from 3-4 p.m.
  • Martin Luther King Branch: Thursday from 3-6 p.m.
  • New Albany Branch: Saturday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Northern Lights Branch: Thursday from 2-4 p.m.
  • Northside Branch: Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Parsons Branch: Thursday from 2-4 p.m.
  • Reynoldsburg Branch: Thursday from 1-4 p.m.
  • Shepard Branch: Saturday from 1-4 p.m.
  • South High Branch: Thursday from 3-5 p.m.
  • Southeast Branch: Thursday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Whetstone Branch: Saturday from 2-4 p.m.
  • Whitehall Branch: Thursday from 3-5 p.m.

Learn more about the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the summer reading challenge here.