The New Orleans Public Library will be providing more than 350 free and fun programs and activities for children, teens and adults this summer through the 2016 Summer Reading Program being held June 1 through July 30.

This much-loved annual celebration of reading is designed to encourage the development of lifelong literacy for all New Orleanians by providing interesting programs and rewards for reaching reading goals.

To officially begin the Summer Reading Program, kickoff parties for children and teens are being held at each library. All of the kickoff parties will occur on Saturday, with two exceptions: the Central City Library, whose party will be held Friday at 12:30 p.m., and the Martin Luther King Library, whose party was held May 25. Kickoff party times vary by location, so please check the library website for details.

Each of the parties offers free books, snacks, crafts and storytimes.

For those unable to attend a kickoff party, Summer Reading Program sign-up is available on the library website or at any library location.

Children who sign up for the Summer Reading Program and who read and log over 600 minutes of reading will earn a certificate, a free book and a reward. Those who read and log over 1,500 minutes of reading will earn a certificate, a free book, a reward and a tote bag.

At 600 minutes of reading, teens who sign up and log their time will earn a free book, a reward and entry into the Teen Prize Raffle. At over 1,500 minutes, they’ll will earn a free book, a reward, a tote bag and additional entries into the Teen Prize Raffle.

Adults can participate in the Summer Reading Program by registering and logging their reading, attending library events or submitting an entry into the Adult Summer Writing Contest.

Shakespeare is the theme for the contest, and submissions must include seven of these 10 words: cold-blooded, bedroom, discontent, eventful, educate, eyesore, fashionable, obscene, restoration and swagger.

Prizes for the contest include a $100 gift certificate for first place, a $50 gift certificate for second place and a $25 gift certificate for third place. Entries must be received by June 30. Entry instructions and complete rules can be found at nolalibrary.org or at any library location.

To stay informed about upcoming library events, sign up for our weekly events and program event listing emails on our website, nolalibrary.org, or like our Facebook page, facebook.com/neworleanspubliclibrary, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nolalibrary.

Charles Brown is the executive director of the New Orleans Public Library.