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WE READ Summer Activities

We Read Website Header 2022

Madison Public Library invites you and your family to celebrate library joy! We have many free and fun activities planned throughout the year, and we look forward to seeing you often-- both in libraries and in our community! There will truly be something for every one this summer as we celebrate the many wonderful ways that kids are reading, creating, writing and playing with WE READ.

WE READ is made possible thanks to support from Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation, Madison Public Library Foundation, Friends of the Madison Public Library, and David Wood & Jane Doughty.

  • Pick up your copy of the We Read Card Game in English or Spanish at any Madison Public Library location
  • We Read Bubbler Artists in Residence
  • Kid reading in the library we read
  • We Read Youth Voices Contest Winners Forward Madison FC 2023
  • We Read Bubbler Artists in Residence program 2
  • We Read Youth Voices Anthology Author Reception at Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration October 2023 cover signs
  • We Read Bubbler Artists in Residence program 3
  • We Read Scribble Tables
  • We Read to Babies and Toddlers Baby Song Book
  • Dream Bus We Read
  • We Read Bag Juneteenth celebration
  • We Read Youth Voices Forward Madison Game
  • We Read Bags community events
  • Storytime We Read Wiggles and Words Goodman South madison library
  • Mae Mitchell Multicultural Collection Kids and books we read
  • We Read Bubbler Artists in Residence program


We Read Bag Central Library Reading

Books By the Bag

This summer stop into any library or on the Dream Bus and grab a WE READ tote bag. Fill it up with your favorite library books! Not sure what to read? Ask your librarian! We would be happy to help you find the perfect summer read.

Literacy Tips for Babies & Toddlers

At each library this summer, we will be sharing a Literacy Tip during storytimes, at the front desk, and on TV screens in library spaces. Look to these spaces for advice on how to engage your little ones in pre-reading activities to help them build skills and excitement about reading. These tips will change weekly throughout the summer. 

Early Literacy Calendar

For babies and pre-readers, we have an Early Literacy Calendar created by the Public Library Association. The calendar (available in both English and Spanish) is full of engaging content designed to help begin a literacy journey with your little ones. Calendars include learning activities, curated book lists, nursery rhymes, song lyrics, early literacy tips, suggested reading material and more! Stop into any of our library locations after June 7 to pick up the June-December pages of the 2024 calendar. 

The first six months were released as part of the Winter WE READ campaign, and will be given out as available - ask your librarian!

Book Lists

Not sure what to read? Browse our book lists for librarian-approved reading recommendations!


Find multi-age storytimes for babies and toddlers at Madison Public Library

Ebooks + Audiobooks

Starting reading eBooks and listening to Audiobooks using the Libby App and your Madison Public Library Card


WE READ Bubbler Artists-in-Residence

The WE READ Bubbler Artist-in-Residence (formerly Bubbler Artist in the Neighborhood) runs June to August 2024. This program places a local artist into each of our nine libraries for the entire summer with the goal of hosting weekly programs for kids and families. The vision and expertise of local teaching artists mingles with collaborative input from library communities - creating something entirely new that's rooted in literacy, creative self-expression, and hands-on learning for children and families. READ ARTIST BIOS

We'll host a kick-off event led by each artist at every library location during the month of June where you can meet your WE READ Bubbler Artist-in-Residence, design your own card for the WE READ Card Game, pick up a WE READ bag and start your summer at the library.

WE READ Bubbler Artists + Program Dates

  • Alicia Ashman Library: Rita Salm (They/Them) | Tuesdays, 2-3pm June 25 - August 13
  • Goodman South Madison Library: Ellie Braun (She/Her) | Mondays, 1-2:30pm June 17 - August 5
  • Central Library: Kati Fernandez-Lambert (She/Her) | Thursdays, 10-11:30am June 13 - August 1 (No program on July 4 in observance of Independence Day)
  • Hawthorne Library: Savannah Starlin (She/Her) | Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30pm June 26 - August 14
  • Lakeview Library: Elias Mittelstadt (He/Him) | Wednesdays, 3:30-5pm June 12 - August 14 (No program on June 19 in observance of Juneteenth)
  • Meadowridge Library: Lashay the Artist (She/Her) | Tuesdays, 6-7:30pm June 18 - August 27 (No program on August 13)
  • Monroe Street Library: Poornima Moorthy (She/Her) | Fridays, 2-3pm and Saturdays 10am - 12pm on various dates between June 15 - August 24 (PLEASE CHECK THE CALENDAR)
  • Pinney Library: Renee Gavigan (She/Her) | Tuesdays, 10-11:30am June 11 - August 13
  • Sequoya Library: Meghan Rosing (She/Her) | Wednesdays, 10-10:45am June 12 - August 14 (No program on June 19 in observance of Juneteenth)

These artist residencies are funded by the Friends of Madison Public Library, Friends of Monroe Street Library, Friends of Sequoya Library, and Madison Public Library Foundation.

Yaritza Garcia WE READ Dream Bus Making and Learning Intern 2024 web

The Dream Bus Making & Learning Intern leads art and making programs at Dream Bus stops and during community events throughout the summer. 

Dream Bus Maker Intern

Every summer, the Dream Bus brings on a Making & Learning Intern to help create fun programs as our library on wheels expands its offerings to fit the increased demands for service that summer brings. Get to know this year's intern, Yaritza Garcia, with a Q&A below! Yaritza will ride along with the Dream Bus on its weekly stops around Madison, as well as attending special events like Juneteenth in Penn Park, Parks Alive, Mobile Madison and more.

Q: Tell us a bit about your background. What are your career goals? 

A: I’m from Madison and grew up in the Allied/Fitchburg area with my brother, sister, and dog Rocky. I am bilingual and grew up speaking Spanish at home. I graduated from Verona High School and am currently studying at UW-Milwaukee where I’ll be a senior next year. My major is Public Health with a certificate in Global Health. When I graduate I want to work with children and women/maternal health, and find a career where I can help kids and families. 

Q: What made you apply for the internship?

A: I applied for this internship because I love working with children. My current job while I’m in school is at a daycare on campus. My favorite part of working with those kids is doing arts and crafts to develop their fine motor skills and speech skills. I love working with kids and helping them to grow into the people they want to be. 

Q: What do you have planned for people who visit the Dream Bus this summer?

A: We are going to be traveling with the button maker all summer long! It’s a kid favorite and has already gotten a lot of love in just the first day. Next week we have little monsters to make - friendly or scary monsters - whatever they want. And other fun crafts that change every week. 

Q: What aspects of the internship are you most looking forward to?

A: Making arts and crafts with children. I am so excited to interact with the kids more in this community. I missed having the chance to engage with kids while I was in high school during COVID, and it has been a really important part of my experience in Milwaukee. I want to get to know my own community, especially now as an adult and make a positive impact on their summer. Especially with the chance for them to be outside and have fun. 

Q: Share one of your own library memories!

A: Every summer, when my siblings and I were kids, my mom would take us to the library to do the summer program and activities. We would read books, earn prizes, and go back every week. We really liked reading and it was an awesome time to spend time together. 

Come meet Yaritza in person this summer to make fun projects with the whole family: See the Dream Bus schedule.

The Making & Learning Internship is made possible thanks to the Alliant Energy Foundation.


WE READ Youth Voices Writing Contest is Open!

WE READ Youth Voices Writing Contest Authors Reception Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration 2023

The WE READ Youth Voices Writing Contest returned April 1 to celebrate the connection between reading and writing, as well as the beauty of youth voice in our community! The theme for the 2024 Writing Contest is “Celebrate Small Heroes.” Every act of heroism, bravery, or kindness - no matter how small - matters.

The theme was chosen by this year's Youth Ambassador and last year's Grand Prize Winner, Diya Dwahal. We can't wait to hear your stories of everyday acts of heroism and the impact they can have.

Aspiring writers in the Madison area, ages 18 and under, are invited to submit a short story, poem, song, etc. with the chance to win CASH PRIZES, get recognized on the field at a Forward Madison FC game, be published in the Youth Voices Anthology, and participate as one of the featured authors at the Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration in October.

Learn more about the theme from Youth Ambassador Diya Dhawal

Learn More

Get all the details about the writing contest, theme, and partners.

Submit a Story

Share your voice for the opportunity to win cash, get published, and more.

Youth Voices Anthology

Get inspired reading stories written for the contest by kids just like you!


The WE READ Card Game is back by popular demand! This is our version of summer reading, and there are a few reasons why. The game was designed to encourage kids to read and play all summer long in a way that builds literacy development and it engages the whole family in reading. It also doesn't require kids or families to “track” reading, while simultaneously offering more equitable options for reading outside the library for those who face transportation barriers. Most importantly, it's fun, open ended, and celebrates reading as the reward.

How do you play the game?

We made a whole video to walk you through it, which you can watch below. The basics are that there are two types of cards in the deck: READ | LEE and PLAY | JUEGA. Each READ | LEE card is packed with fun challenges or activities to encourage kids to read and celebrate the reading they’re already doing. You can start by picking a READ | LEE card and doing the activity you see on the card. Once that's done, reward yourself with a PLAY | JUEGA card, each of which offers a joke, rhyme, tongue-twister or other instant, reading-based reward.

What's different this year?

The big thing that's changed this year is that you can play the game all summer long! We added numbers, suits, and images to the deck so that games like charades, memory, go fish, and more are possible (instructions included!). Plus, every card and deck is fully bilingual in English and Spanish.

What about prizes?

The WE READ Card Game is NOT tied directly to prizes at the desk. The deck is the deck, and prizes are tied to interactions with staff, so kids don’t need to remember to bring cards back. Kids earn prizes this year by filling out or responding to a weekly Share Your Voice prompt at the desk. You can take home specialty prizes like wooden bookmarks that you can decorate yourself, snap bracelets, and mini maker kits!

Play Guide

Madison Public Library has unique play spaces at each of our nine locations. Find the right play for you!

Baby Song Books

Pick up this helpful resource at the library or listen online! Play and sing along with your baby or toddler.

Play in the Wild

Meet us at community events like Parks Alive, Mobile Madison and more this summer for play!

Upcoming Programs

See the list of events and programs you can participate in over the next 30 days below:

Additional programs are available on

Alicia Ashman Library

Central Library

Goodman South Madison Library

Hawthorne Library

Lakeview Library

Meadowridge Library

Monroe Street Library

Pinney Library

Sequoya Library

Apply for a Library Card

You can apply for a card or manage your Library account in-person at any of our physical locations, including the Dream Bus. Library cards give you access to the Wisconsin Digital Library, ebooks, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, streaming video, books and more!

If you don't already have a valid library card, you can apply for one online. There are two card options: Individual and Organizational.

Get an Organizational Card

Check out library materials for use in after-school programs, classrooms, preschools and more!

Get a Library Card

Kids, adults and all ages in between can access books, DVDs, streaming video, audiobooks and more!

Social Media

Be sure to join in the fun with what you're reading and how you're reading using the hashtag #WeReadMadison and tagging @MadisonPublicLibrary on Instagram and Facebook. Plus, we've got a great selection of book lists that cover lots of genres and topics. Check them out now!

Like/Follow/Tag @madisonpubliclibrary

Access our Media Kit for graphics, press release and an email template for easy sharing.

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