Summer Reading 2020

Children’s Department Summer 2020 Update

Welcome to summer reading! We know that it has been a challenging spring and school year due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has placed unusual demands on students, teachers and libraries. Summer reading at Essex Library will necessarily operate a little differently than in years past, but we’re still looking forward to connecting you with great books.

In addition to our digital materials available 24/7 we have a new Park & Pickup (“curbside”) service. You can request printed books, DVDs, books on CD, magazines, and more by emailing us at or leaving a voicemail message for us at 860-767-1560. We check messages throughout the day. Our staff will then be happy to locate the titles you need. We can also do the browsing for you – just let us know the subjects and/or reading level. Once we receive your request, our team locates items in the building, checks them out to your card, and gives you a call letting you know items are ready for pickup. Pickup is available Tuesdays – Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Just put on your mask and maintain social distance, come to our parking lot, and you’ll find your labeled items bagged and under our pickup tent.

In July we’re planning a “Booked to Browse” service, where we’ll have limited access to our building for browsing and borrowing services, by appointment only. We’ll share more on Booked to Browse when we are closer to being able to bring you safely back into the library. Appointments will be limited for up to two members of the same healthy household at a time, with children 12 and under accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian. Masks that fully cover the nose and mouth will be required of all visitors.

The library is currently conducting a nationwide search for our next Children’s Librarian. We are conducting interviews over the summer and look forward to introducing our new Children’s services member to you as soon as possible.

Essex Library Association Summer Reading


Easily log your activity using the READsquared app. The app is free for both Android and iOS mobile devices. Track your reading progress and earn badges along the way! The app allows you to directly access our catalog, where you can immediately request digital editions or place a hold for pickup of a printed copy. Download the READsquared App on your device:


Paper reading logs

Don’t want to track your reading activity online? Pick up a printed reading log under our Park & Pickup tent. Track your progress and drop your completed log in a sealed envelope in our Book Drop at the end of the summer to earn special prizes.

Weekly bookmarks

We’ve got books, you need bookmarks! Each week we’ll put out a new, free bookmark under our Park & Pickup tent. Kids can take one home to enjoy. Collect 8 or more, then send us a photo of your bookmarks at the end of the summer and we’ll enter your name in our special end-of-summer prize drawing. Drawing to be held on Friday, August 28th. Our winner’s bookmark photo will be shared on social media and on our website.

Essex Schools: Recommended Reading

Valley Regional High School

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s reader’s choice for VRHS summer reading this year. Let us know what authors or subjects you love and we’ll be happy to get books to you via Park & Pickup or through our 24/7 Overdrive and Project Gutenberg collections. Need some inspiration? Contact us at and a librarian will be in touch to assist you.

John Winthrop Middle School

The assignment from John Winthrop requires that you read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book of your choice. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Remember that book titles are your choice. Click for a link to a recommended list of books from your school. You are required to take notes on the provided fiction and non-fiction note pages and bring them to school with you when the year begins.

Essex Elementary School

Essex Elementary School asks that students write down a list of books read in the provided student journal to help administrators calculate summer reading participation when the school year begins. Our staff are always happy to select books for you; just reach out to us at and we’ll select titles or subjects at the level that’s just right for your reader.

Have a great summer and happy reading!

Essex Library Association: Recommended Summer Reads

Book Recommendations from the Children’s Department

Nutmeg Award Winners – Quality Literature for grades 2-12

Caldecott Award Winners – Distinguished Illustrations in Youth Literature

Newberry Medal Award Winners – Distinguished Youth Literature

Printz Award Winners – Distinguished Young Adult Literature

State of CT Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge

The Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge provides access to student journals, district reporting forms, and other materials that might be helpful in completing your summer reading goals.

Welcome back!

Essex Library Park & Pickup Service

Contact-free pickup of library materials is available Monday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. from a designated table in the library’s main parking lot. Call or email us to request items.

For more see: pickup information .

Library Materials Return

Essex Library is accepting returned materials. Please place items in the brown book drop in our parking lot.  All returned items are quarantined for 72 hours before they are checked-in; items are then back dated.

Due to staggered reopening of libraries, delays in deliveries, and materials quarantining, Essex Library is continuing our waivers on overdue fines. Due dates will still apply to library materials. Thank you for helping us share materials in a timely way with all patrons.

Thank You for Your Support!