Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

June 21, 2011
Sacramento Public Library continues tradition of summer reading

McClatchy.jpgEarlier this month, the Sacramento Public Library launched its 2011 Summer Reading program, One World, Many Stories.  Through the program, the library challenges people of all ages to read books, explore library resources, and attend some of the more than 600 programs offered across 28 branches.  As we launch a new year, it's fitting time look back at the roots of children's reading in Sacramento.

Fruitridge 1968.jpgIn 1919, just one year after the construction of the new main library, the Sacramento Public Library joined others across the country in celebrating Children's Book Week.  In November of each year, the library installed displays, dispersed reading lists, and distributed posters, and dozens of local merchants planned Book Week window displays.

By the 1930s, library branches were hosting summer reading clubs for children.  The first mentioned by name was the Jig-Saw Zoo Reading Club, which claimed many readers in 1947 and continued for the next 20 years.  Other special summer reading clubs sprung up at the children's branches.  In 1953, the McClatchy Branch Library, then still a "Young People's Library," ran a Summer Space Flight reading club.  In 1967, children joined the Smokey the Bear Reading Program, and in 1969, they were challenged to "Read at Yard of Books." 

Over the intervening decades, the Sacramento Public Library has continued its tradition of offering engaging summer programs that encourage reading outside of the classroom.

For more information about the 2011 Summer Reading program, visit or call (916) 264-2920.

PHOTO CREDIT: Top: Children sit for summertime Story Hour at the McClatchy Branch Library for Young People (by McCurry Foto Co., ca. 1945); Bottom: Boys stand with books and certificates outside the Fruitridge Branch Library (1968). From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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