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Lunch @ the Library


The California Summer Meal Coalition (CSMC) and the California Library Association (CLA) work in partnership to connect summer meal providers and local libraries in an effort to simultaneously support summer nutrition and summer learning.

Why the Library?

Do you know just how much your local library offers to the community? Even the most sophisticated library aficionado may not be fully aware of how much more libraries do than check out books…or how community members feel about their local library.



According to surveys conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, most Americans (age 16 and older) believe libraries are important because they:

  • Help to “give everyone a chance to succeed”
  • Improve quality of life in the community
  • Promote literacy
  • Provide resources that may be unavailable elsewhere.

Surveys reported that libraries are highly valued by parents, women, African Americans, Hispanics, unemployed adults, lower-income households, and households with lower levels of education.

As trusted spaces that lie in the heart of the community, libraries can be ideal summer meal sites. They are safe spaces, offer resources for the whole family, and provide summer programming for children that is attractive to families. Libraries often act as “The Great Equalizer”… Summer meals help libraries better serve those families that struggle to have basic needs met when school lets out for the summer break.

About the Project

Together, CSMC and CLA bring together providers and public libraries to support the goals of each through creative partnerships that join summer meals and library programming. Building on the experiences of partnerships in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego County, CSMC and CLA continue to develop resources and provide support to providers and libraries alike.

To access resources for libraries, visit the Lunch at the Library website. This website is geared towards helping library staff plan and implement a successful summer meal program at their library.

Contact us if you are interested in learning how to establish a successful Lunch at the Library partnership in your community.

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