Stark Library’s Annual Summer Challenge Returns with a Twist!

June 17, 2020 (Canton, Ohio) – Each year, Stark Library hosts a Summer Challenge to combat the dreaded summer slide and remind kids that reading is not only for learning— it’s fun, too! The Library is pleased to announce the start of the 2020 Summer Challenge: “Imagine Your Story.”

The Summer Challenge has undergone some exciting changes this year. First, the program name doesn't have the word “reading” in it. Kids aren’t one-size-fits-all, why should their Summer Challenge be? This year the program includes activities like writing a letter, creating an art collage, learning about different countries, and much more.  By including activities, the Library can engage more kids in new and exciting ways and encourage them to find new interests and explore STEM-related activities, get involved in the community, and grow their imagination and creative problem-solving skills.

Kids can earn points towards cool prizes for each activity they complete or day they read. Prizes include rubber ducks, pop sockets, mood pencils, and, of course, books! There are six grand prize gift baskets that include things like gift cards to Mission BBQ and Books-a-Million, Canton Charge swag, candy, and more!  We have also set a Community Goal to collectively earn 1,000,000 points this summer. If reached, the Library will host a special social distancing activity for everyone!

Just like participants are being asked to think outside the box with the program, the Library is taking a creative approach to the Summer Challenge. Events, including the kickoffs held last week, and reporting will all be virtual! Kids can complete activities in their homes or with a friend.

The program keeps children’s reading skills sharp, improves their comprehension and memory skills, and even results in gains over the summer. Last year over 6,250 participants joined the Stark Library’s challenge and read a combined total of 158,395 days.

“2020 is the year of creative solutions. Each year we host the summer reading challenge to encourage our children to learn beyond the borders of their schools,” said Marianna DiGiacomo. “By expanding the program beyond reading, we hope to encourage the do-ers, the thinkers, and the community-minded children with hands on activities.”

The Summer Reading Challenge runs from June 8 – August 14 and is open to children and teens (birth to grade 12). Progress maps to track days read and activities completed are available online, as well as Stark Library branches (in brochure boxes outside), and in public places around the community including:

Books-a-Million at the Strip
Weis Park ( by the tennis courts)
Stadium Park (near the Garden Center)
Jackson Parks: North Park near the shelter kiosk
Fry Park
Cook's Lagoon
Perry Sippo
Quail Hollow

Summer Food Programs

It is difficult for children to focus when they are hungry. In addition to keeping kids engaged with learning this Summer, Stark Library is teaming up with Children’s Hunger Alliance, Stark County Hunger Task Force, and Sandy Valley Schools to help fight childhood hunger in our communities and distribute healthy, shelf-stable meals to the children in the community throughout the summer. Families can get free meals:

Main Library
715 Market Ave. N
Canton, Ohio
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays Noon – 1 pm

Madge Youtz Branch
 2921 Mahoning Rd. NE
Canton, Ohio 44705
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3-3:30 pm
Summer Backpack program Fridays 2-3 pm 

North Branch
189 25th Street NW
Canton, Ohio 4470
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 1:30 – 2:30 pm

DeHoff Memorial Branch
216 Hartford Ave. SE
Canton, Ohio 44707
Tuesdays, Thursdays 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Sandy Valley Branch
9754 Cleveland Ave. SE
Magnolia, Ohio 44643
Wednesdays 11am- Noon

Learn more about the food programs and resources in the community, sign up for the Summer Challenge or virtual programs, and reserve materials for Library to Go at


Inviting. Informing. Transforming.  At Stark Library, we invite everyone into a welcoming place, inform them with resources that will help them grow, and then send them back out to change and transform the world. We think of this ongoing, lifelong process as OUR PURPOSE.

One of the 9 largest library systems in Ohio – and the county’s oldest library – Stark Library serves the community through 10 locations, six mobile libraries, and a 24/7 digital branch.

A 2009 winner of the prestigious National Medal for library service, Stark Library serves more than 240,000 residents, annually circulating nearly 4 million items from its 1.5 million item collection and providing access to an additional 66 million items from lending networks throughout Ohio. Each year the library presents more than 8,000 programs for 167,000 attendees and provides 228,399 computer sessions on the publicly available computers found in each branch. In 2019, Stark Library served nearly 2 million visitors at all locations and online.

For locations, hours or more information visit or call 330.452.0665.