The New York Public Library Supports NYC Families with a Suite of New, Free Educational Programs for Kids and Teens This Fall

Homework help, paid internships for teens, and circulating STEAM kits to be offered at select branches across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island beginning in September


SEPTEMBER 14, 2021—The New York Public Library is offering a suite of new in-person educational programs this fall, designed to support NYC students and their families as they continue to cope with the challenges and disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


This summer, the Library—which has served students and their families throughout the pandemic with virtual resources and programs—reopened all of its available locations to near full service for the first time since March 2020, reinstituting its branches as key after-school spaces in every community, with academic support and enrichment opportunities for all ages. The diverse set of programs launching this fall build on public libraries’ traditional support of families, and are designed to help students excel in school, spark a lifelong love of reading, encourage curiosity and independent learning, and remind the most vulnerable families that their local libraries provide access to critical educational resources and free, quality programming.


For information on all of the Library’s new programs, as well as existing offerings and virtual resources, visit nypl.org/backtoschool.


“New York City’s students and their families have faced an exceptionally difficult time in the wake of the pandemic, overcoming immeasurable obstacles to achieve educational success,” said Brian Bannon, Merryl and James Tisch Director of the New York Public Library. “The New York Public Library is determined to help our students navigate these hurdles with support and encouragement and innovative thinking, which is why we’ve launched initiatives that highlight the strengths of our collections, the deep knowledge of our staff, and the passion of our young patrons. We are committed to being a key partner to the city’s Department of Education in helping young New Yorkers nurture their excitement around learning and with these programs and materials, we are eager to see what the future holds for them.”


The free programs—available at select NYPL branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten island beginning in September—include:


STEAM Discovery Kits: Beginning September 20, 400 STEAM Discovery Kits will be available for checkout at 30 branches throughout the system. Covering a variety of subjects related to science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM)—students will have access to five different types of kits: Engineering, Stargazing, Young Coders, and Young Builders. Additionally, 10 branches will get Sphero Robotics kits. Used in conjunction with books from the Library and resources from home, the kits—available to borrow one at a time for three weeks—will help students develop their skills in STEAM topics and support creative, scientific, and collaborative thinking. 

NYPL After School: A drop-in program at 20 NYPL branches, students aged 6 to 12 can receive homework help from a Library tutor or a Teen Reading Ambassador through this initiative and offers personalized reading recommendations along with writing, STEAM, and other enrichment activities. The program is offered Monday through Thursdays, beginning September 27. To find the nearest location, patrons can visit nypl.org/afterschool.

Teen Reading Ambassadors: Teen bibliophiles have an opportunity through this paid internship ($15 an hour) to engage, read to, and interact with younger students in the NYPL After School program. The teens also design and produce a magazine for kids aged 6-12 called Portal. The program, which offers 45 coveted slots, is designed to empower young adults to serve as leaders and role models to younger children. The inaugural round of internships is closed, with teens beginning the program on September 20. Teens interested in the program can wait until the next round (tentatively scheduled for August 2022) or can speak to their local librarians to learn of any openings.       

College and Career Pathways: Teens can explore various career and educational avenues through a series of programs hosted by the Library this fall. Additional opportunities are expected in 2022, including a college and career fair, free in-person and virtual college counseling, college prep workshops, test prep resources, and career panels. 


Media Contact:  Bobby Sherwood, robertsherwood@nypl.org


About The New York Public Library


For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and remains the most visited civic institution in the City. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.