Dayton Metro Library Summer Challenge

Dayton Metro Library Summer Challenge is nothing if not adaptable. Last summer, when COVID restrictions made in-person programming impossible, DML quickly pivoted to offering online programs and new ways for kids to earn prizes.

This summer, DML adapts again, with in-person, outdoor “Pop-Up” programs, Take and Make Kits, and more flexible options for earning prizes. While some of the details may change, the goal of Summer Challenge remains the same: to keep children engaged in learning and creative experiences while they’re out of school for the summer.

Dayton Metro Library Summer Challenge runs from June 1 to August 1. Children of any age, from babies through high school, can participate. Details about participation options, prizes and more can be found at

“This year we’re focused on three key activities: reading, learning and helping,” said Mandie Burns, Youth Services Coordinator. “Kids do these activities all the time without realizing how they contribute to their growth and development. Our Summer Challenge not only brings a kind of mindfulness to these activities, but rewards kids for setting and achieving their goals, too.”

What activities can be counted?

Reading books, ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics, manga, and more (or being read to, for pre-readers).

Learning through Library activities, camp experiences, church programs, online learning, educational TV, or school programs.

Helping family or friends by doing chores, volunteer work, taking care of siblings, community cleanup, helping a neighbor, or assisting someone else in countless other ways.

Kids and families can keep track of the time spent doing any of these activities either online or with a paper tracker. Prizes are earned at different achievement levels. Additionally, a $529 CollegeAdvantage Savings Award will be presented to one winner drawn in each of four age categories: Birth-3 Years, PreK-K, Grades 1-6, and Grades 7-12.

New this year, Pop-Up Programs will take place outdoors at all Dayton Metro Libraries. Pop-Up Programs for children include storytimes, craft activities, music, or STEM experiments. Teen Pop-Up Programs could be book talks, DIY projects, or arts experiences. Pop-Up Programs will be rescheduled in the case of inclement weather. Space is limited; the Library will continue to follow current health and safety guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing.

“Pop-Up Programs are a fun way to offer in-person programs safely outdoors,” said Julie Buchanan, DML Programming Manager. “Kids want to be with other kids, and Librarians are eager to interact with our young patrons again.”

Each Branch Library will choose the Pop-Up Programs they want to have at their location. Patrons can call or visit in person to find out what’s planned, or go to the online events calendar at Attending Pop-Up Programs can be counted in the Summer Challenge.

DML’s Take and Make Kits will continue through the summer as well. Time spent on the activities in the kits can also be counted in the Summer Challenge.

“Our Take and Make Kits have been a big hit,” said Buchanan. “We started offering these free boxes of games, crafts and supplies at all our Branches in April. Activities in the kits are tailored for young children, elementary ages, or teens, and there’s a different theme with all new activities each month.”

Take and Make Kits include information on how to participate in free virtual programs presented by partner organizations such as Five Rivers MetroParks, Glen Helen Raptor Center, and the UD Rivers Institute.

“In addition to Take and Make Kits and Pop-Up Programs, be sure to follow the Dayton Metro Library on Facebook,” said Buchanan. “Throughout the summer, we’ll be running contests and other fun, Facebook-only activities that can be added to Summer Challenge totals.”

Dayton Metro Library’s Summer Challenge is sponsored by Ohio’s 529 CollegeAdvantage, Learn to Earn Dayton, CenterPoint Energy, Friends of the Dayton Metro Library, and the Dayton Metro Library Foundation.

For more information or to register online, visit, call the Library’s Ask Me Line at 937-463-2665, or visit any Branch of the Dayton Metro Library.

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