Last month, I shared about reading to your babies and toddlers, including why we should do it, how to make it fun, and some of my favorite books to read with littles. This month, I am sharing about another amazing way to incorporate reading into your lives: taking advantage of reading programs and story times at our local libraries. We have so many great libraries in the corridor, and all of them offer programs for kids.
We began taking advantage of these opportunities when our son was five months old. Both of our kids absolutely love it! In fact, when our son was around 21 months and I was six months pregnant with our daughter, we were at the Iowa City library one Friday for “Book Babies.” We sat down and they began to sing their welcome song. Our daughter was moving all over the place–inside my belly! People sitting around us were just watching my belly because she was so active. I choose to believe this is because she was happy about what she was hearing!
One thing I have loved about the kids programs at the libraries is that the librarians there have kids’ best interests in mind. They are enthusiastic, energetic, and genuinely believe in the information, stories, and songs they are sharing with their audience. I also feel that sometimes it is good for kids to be able to listen to someone other than their parents tell or read a story. In addition, they have been very helpful when selecting books on specific topics or interests.
Below is a list of local libraries in the area and details on their kids’ programs and story times. For more information, follow the links to each library’s website.
Local Library Story Times and Kids’ Programs
Thursdays at 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
Children under 3 and their caregivers listen to stories, rhymes, songs and finger plays. Gather in the Storytime Room, in the children’s section, for this event.
Preschool Story Times
Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Children ages 3 and up listen to stories, sing, and participate in a range of activities planned just for them. Gather in the Storytime Room, in the children’s section, for this event.
Family Story Times
Saturdays at 10:30am
Come to the Storytime room prepared to have fun. These programs are planned with a broad range of ages in mind. Children and their families listen to stories, music, and poems and participate in various activities.
Family Night at the Library
Kids Create: (K-3rd graders) First Thursday of the month, September-April, at 2:30 p.m. for a fun activity. Programs will last approximately 1 hour. Sign up, beginning a week before Kids Create, at the Children’s Desk or on the Kids Create page.
R.E.A.D. Dogs: (K+) Kindergartners and older practice reading to a licensed therapy dog. 3rd Sunday of the month, July-October. Registration required by calling (319)248-1850.
Thursday Zone: (4th-6th graders) 3rd Thursday of the month, September-April, at 2:30 p.m for a fun activity
Book Babies Program
Book Babies is offered every Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. and Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. for babies 6-18 months. This program is a participatory program designed to foster early language development. Parents and caregivers can enjoy this time to play with baby and meet new friends.
The Children’s Room offers a set schedule of weekly story times throughout the year. Except on major holidays you can attend these story times:
Toddler Story Time: Mondays & Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Preschool Story Time: Wednesdays & Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.
Family Story Time: Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Fun Day: Sundays at 2 p.m.
There is no registration for library story times–everyone is welcome. These programs last approximately 30 minutes.
Summer reading book clubs. Contact library for more information.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten:
Children need to hear at least 1,000 books before kindergarten in order to help them learn to read. Encourage learning by spending time sharing books each and everyday. Sign up for this program by visiting the Children’s desk at the library.
Baby Story Time (Birth-24 months): Wednesday mornings, 10 a.m.
Story Time (Pre-K): Wednesday mornings, 10 a.m.
PJ Story Time (Family): Thursday nights, 7 p.m.
Tot Time (Ages 2-4): Fridays, 10 a.m.
Saturday Story Time (Family): Saturdays, 11 a.m.
Tuesdays, 4:15 p.m. for K-3rd graders. (All activities are come and go, no registration is required).
Monthly Activity Rotation:
- Science Activity (1st Tuesday)
- Games (2nd Tuesday)
- Legos (3rd Tuesday)
- Crafternoons (4th Tuesday)
Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Ages 2 – 5 and their caregivers; siblings are also welcome
Babygarten – a program which provides stimulating experiences to nurture the bond between caregiver and child, with an emphasis on language enrichment and pre-literacy skills. For infants 0 – 24 months of age
Summer Reading Program
LEGO® Club – meets on the first Monday of each month, except when that Monday is a holiday. Children in Kindergarten and up may attend.
Puppet Kits – check out puppets with coordinating books for play and reading at home
Children’s Area – a play space which is provided for younger children with tables, puzzles, and play kitchen and/or puppet theater
Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. This is open to all ages from preschool on up.
Springmier library is located in the Clear Creek Amana Middle School
Preschool story hour Mondays 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
*Please go to the middle school entrance since this takes place during school hours
Regular programming takes place during the summer months.
Preschool Story Time
Fridays 10 a.m. – All year round (Toddler/preschoolers)
Pajama Story Time
Tuesdays 7 p.m. – September to May (all ages welcome)
Pajama Story Times offer a set of themed stories followed by a quick bedtime snack. Like Preschool Story Times, the books chosen for Pajama Story Time often reflect a season, holiday, or other special topic, like leaves during fall or flowers during spring. As suggested by the name, kids and adults alike are welcome to wear their PJs to story time.
Early Out School Days
Wednesdays at 2 p.m. during the school year
There is always some sort of activity at the library for school-aged children due to the early out day.
Teen programs run in September and October and April and May. Additionally, there are summer reading programs as well. Call West Branch library for more specific details.
Snacks & Stories
Wednesdays 1:30 p.m. – June & July, and every Monday during the Summer Library Program.
Snacks and stories are the most active of the library’s story times offering a set of stories with a small snack, followed by a fun activity. Like Pajama Story Time, Snacks & Stories happen outside of school hours, so they are intended for children of all ages.
Toddler story time
Wednesday 10-10:30: stories, games, and crafts
Toddler play time
Wednesday 10:30-11:30: immediately following toddler story time
- Early out Wednesday: variety of activities at 2:30 p.m.
- Special activities for school-aged children each month. Contact library for more information.
- Summer reading programs: July-August. Contact library for more information.
We hope this list gives you a good start as to what programs are available in our community. Please do not hesitate to call the libraries if you have questions about their programming. They are more than willing to assist you and answer any questions you may have. The libraries are great places to get your child on the path to being life-long readers and great ways to meet other moms and kiddos.