Going to the library with your child

By: Ellie Springer

Tips on taking your young child to the library:

  1. DO IT!! You may think your toddler is too wild for the library and will only make a mess and annoy the librarians and other patrons; but the children’s section of your library should be set up for children. Most libraries’ children’s sections have toys, puzzles, and coloring for children. It’s a great place to go on a rainy, too hot, or too cold day.
  2. Try out different libraries. Every library is set up differently and each has something or other that makes it unique. Some have their children’s section on a separate floor, so you won’t worry about bothering other people, some have a great selection of toys, and some have wonderful, engaging librarians who will love getting to know your child.
  3. Story time at the library is a great way to foster a love for books in your child, and a place to work on those socialization skills, spending time with other children. Research the story times at libraries in your area. Most libraries have calendars of activities on their websites (some listed below). Some have story times for children aged 2 and up, some for ages 0-2, and some have specific lap baby story times. Find the time and age range that works best for you and your child.  You may also find a librarian you and your child really like at a library in another town.  
  4. Take some books home with you. Toddlers love to read the same books over and over (because they are learning from it--practice makes perfect), but adults can get tired of the same book every day. The library is a great place to find new books and change up your routine story time. Look for (or ask a librarian for help finding) books about something your child loves--trains, kittens--or by an author of a favorite book you have at home. If you find a book at the library your child really loves and that you think is worthwhile, you can always buy a copy to keep forever.  Most libraries have a section of board books, and you can pull some out for your child to look at.  Read/look at a few together while you’re there, or pick a few on your own that you think your child will like if she is too busy playing. 
  5. Keep track of the library books. You can pick a canvas shopping bag to be your library bag and keep the library books in there when you are not reading them during the week, to keep them from getting mixed up with the books you own. Your child may like to carry the bag into the library and to put the books you are returning in the slot, or on the shelf, to be returned.  If your toddler feels he has some power in and is a part of the process of choosing—and returning—books, he may be more excited to go to the library and more willing to return books. And, as with everything we do with toddlers, having a routine makes the process easier.

The best part: It’s FREE!!  And it is a great way to become part of your community and to get your child excited about books.

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Here are websites for some local libraries:

Acton: www.actonmemoriallibrary.org

Bedford: www.befordlibrary.net

Boxborough: https://boxlib.org 

Carlisle: www.gleasonlibrary.org 

Concord: https://concordlibrary.org and https://concordlibrary.org/fowler-branch 

Harvard: www.harvardpubliclibrary.org 

Lincoln: https://www.lincolnpl.org 

Littleton: https://www.littletonma.org/reuben-hoar-library 

Maynard: www.maynardpubliclibrary.org

Sudbury: https://goodnowlibrary.org

Westford: www.westfordlibrary.org/Pages/index


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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.