San Francisco Public Library’s Award-Winning Summer Learning Program Goes DIgital

For Immediate Release: May 29, 2020
Media Contact: Jaime Wong 



Acclaimed children’s book illustrator, Alison Farrell, creates original art for City’s landmark summer learning program


SAN FRANCISCO, June 1, 2020 – For thousands of San Franciscans, summer is synonymous with San Francisco Library’s Summer Stride, the City’s annual celebration of learning, reading and exploration. With the arrival of COVID-19 and the temporary closure of all library locations, this year’s program looks different but is no less fun. While the art and STEM activities and performances by local artists have been moved online, in keeping with tradition, the program features plenty of inspiration and encouragement to get outdoors and discover the region’s natural wonders. 


“While our brick and mortar locations are closed, we are proud to offer caregivers, youth and adults a wide array of programming that can be accessed from the safety of their own home. At the same time, we want to encourage families to take advantage of the restorative benefits of being in nature. We are grateful for our fifth year of partnership with the National Park Service and Golden Gate Parks Conservancy to offer a weekly Nature Boost program. We stand together to keep students exercising their minds and bodies to combat the COVID slide. Free access to books, nature and the majestic outdoors is crucial for a healthy San Francisco,” said Christy Estrovitz, Youth Services Manager.  


Summer Stride incentivizes reading, learning or exploring nature for 20 minutes a day as a way to prevent “summer slide”—a decline in academic skills that occurs while school is out. New this year, participants can track their time reading and learning on Beanstack (, an online platform that can be accessed from a computer or mobile device. Families can also download a physical tracker along with other activities such as a neighborhood scavenger hunt, coloring pages and the SFUSD/SFPL Recommended Reading List for preschoolers to high schoolers at Those who complete 20 hours are eligible to receive a prize—the coveted 2020 Summer Stride tote featuring original artwork by this year’s Summer Stride artist Alison Farrell, acclaimed author of The Hike (Chronicle Books, 2019). 


Every year, the Library uses original art from a recently published picture book to entice San Franciscans to participate in Summer Stride.  The Hike is an adventure story about three intrepid young female explorers—Wren, El and Hattie—who set out to conquer the outdoors in their local forest. In its review, the New York Times calls The Hike “delightfully illustrated” and “joyful,” and it was the perfect pairing for the Library’s collaboration with SF Recreation & Parks, Parks Alliance, National Park Service, Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. To celebrate Golden Gate Park’s 150th Anniversary, Farrell designed an Activity Tracker as a walk, run or cycle adventure through the Park’s treasures, beginning in the Panhandle and finishing at an Ocean Beach sunset. It is a San Francisco nature lover’s delight.  


Farrell, now a resident of Portland, Oregon, called up fond memories of living in San Francisco to inspire her vivid tableaus of Bay cityscapes. “Six years ago, my family lived in the Outer Sunset. For me, Golden Gate Park was a daily cycling thoroughfare, a respite, entertainment for my young family, and a place to behold unimaginable sights (one example: the enchanting woman who charioteers a pack of Boston terriers through the park, have you seen her?!). I have been delighted to draw inspiration from Golden Gate Park for the SFPL Summer Stride program!” said Farrell. More information about Farrell can be found at


Watch Mayor Breed’s warm welcome to Summer Stride!


Summer Stride Kickoff – June 5

Join Alison Farrell for our Summer Stride Kickoff! This year’s virtual event is co-presented with the National Park Service and features Alison’s live reading of The Hike. Let our author sweep you away in a live reading of an adventure story about three young explorers who set out to conquer the outdoors in their local forest. June 5, 11 a.m., YouTube Live


Summer Stride Weekly Program Schedule: 


Mondays, 11 a.m.

STEM Challenge Yo’Self: Get Ready!

Gather your household supplies for the weekly STEM Challenge.


Tuesdays, 11 a.m.            

STEM Challenge Yo’Self


Every week, experiment, learn and have fun with a new STEM challenge fresh from our librarian lab! Can you defy aerodynamics, or use the Force to control water? Find out!


Wednesdays, 11 a.m.     

Local Talent Showcase for Families

Enjoy the talents of your favorite artists through exciting performances and interactive workshops. Check below for who’s coming up!


Fridays, 11 a.m. 

Nature Boost with your Park

Meet national park rangers, learn more about local plants and animals and “nature bathe” with immersive park photos and videos.  




About San Francisco Public Library

San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles.


Summer Stride is funded by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Mayo 29, 2020