Lunch at the Library

Lunch at the Library

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Public libraries are natural spaces for serving free summer meals to children and teens while school is out.

Lunch at the Library:

  • Helps libraries provide free summer meals and programming at library sites
  • Takes pop-up libraries to other community-based meal sites like parks and schools
  • Provides free books to help children build home libraries
  • Delivers summer reading and learning programs for children and teens, and health and wellness programs for families
  • Creates volunteer opportunities for teens
  • Connects public libraries with school districts and local community-based organizations
  • Connects families to community services and resources

According to the Food and Research Action Center, only 1 in 6 California children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch receive summer meals.

For additional information, please see the Summer 2023 Report to the Legislature.

Summer 2023


meals served*


library meal sites


pop-up sites


programs at summer meal sites


books to families

I am so very grateful for the meals. We were hungry and you fed me.

Lunch at the Library Participant

What I like most about the library is the programs they have for my son, he gets to learn and enjoy meals. Also he has a lot of fun, he loves coming to the library.

Lunch at the Library Parent

Being able to provide meals to kids during non-school months is incredibly important to making sure kids in the community are able to eat. Having the Library – especially as it promotes literacy, STEAM, and/or wellness with its enrichment programs – means kids, usually in the lower-income demographic, are being introduced to fun and free activity/books and to the Library as a community resource.

Lunch at the Library Public Library Staff

Families feel comfortable coming to the Library and love seeing the Library hosting events at community sites. During summer, when kids are out of school and not getting free school meals, it is more important than ever for the Library to step in and fill that need.

Lunch at the Library Public Library Staff