Lunch at the Library

Lunch at the Library helps libraries participate in the USDA’s summer nutrition program and establish themselves as successful summer meal sites.

During the summer months, many children struggle to have their basic needs met, with reduced access to healthy food and safe places to congregate. Summer meal programs help combat childhood hunger and obesity by providing free, healthy meals to kids. Libraries are trusted spaces at the heart of the community, filled with programs and resources, and they are natural places for providing nourishment and enrichment to children and teens during the summer.

California Library Association and California Summer Meal Coalition began the Lunch at the Library project in order to help libraries establish their summer meal programs:

  • connect libraries with meal sponsors and the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program;
  • provide resources and technical assistance on establishing a program, working with volunteers, developing learning and enrichment programs to complement the meal service, creating partnerships, conducting public relations, engaging families, and obtaining funding;
  • conduct program evaluation and maintain statewide data on public library summer meal programs;
  • make connections between library summer meal programs and other citywide efforts to address hunger and learning loss, and help to facilitate intergovernmental collaborations to help create a strong out-of-school-time infrastructure; and
  • facilitate a national network of libraries offering summer meal programs to encourage communication and the sharing of best practices.

Lunch at the Library is a project of the California State Library, supported with funds from the State of California. Lunch at the Library was developed by the California Library Association and the California Summer Meal Coalition, with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Interested in finding out more about the program? Visit the project’s website: