A US study “Role of Libraries in Children’s Literacy Development” found that libraries create a love for reading in children and “offer priceless opportunities for children to develop literacy skills.”
Aside from just being a stockroom for books, libraries can offer much more for children by offering storytelling and reading sessions regularly and creating a special space just for children’s books.
Libraries in Australia does not disappoint its citizens by having public libraries accessible for everyone. Each state and region offers a section in the library just for children. These libraries often run programs to encourage children to visit the library often.
As educators and parents, let’s add the library to the list of places we need to visit with the children.
Here are some of the best children’s libraries across the continent:
+61 2 6205 9000
ACT offers several library services for children including Giggle and Wiggle program for children aged 0-2 years old. This program teaches children about alphabet recognition, shapes, colours and numbers through language play like interactive rhymes, songs, games and stories.
For children ages 3-5 the library offers a thirty minute StoryTime program offering stories, rhymes and songs.
They also have a lineup of school holiday activities, visit the site here.
Library services for children are offered in all branches all over the region. However, the library cannot accommodate preschool and childcare groups during regular session. If you want to take advantage of the services, contact the library to request a specially organized program at a separate time.
02 9265 9333
The City of Sydney Library have 11 branches – Custom House, Glebe, Green Square, Haymarket, King’s Cross, Newtown, Pyrmont, Surry Hills, Library Express, Waterloo and Ultimo. Check out the website here to find out about each opening and closing times.
Library program called Rock, rhyme and storytime are offered for babies and toddlers. This is for active children 2-3 years old who enjoy rhyme, songs, stories, music and movement. This program is offered at Glebe Library.
Children ages 0-2 will enjoy Rhymetime and develop early literacy skills in the process through rhymes, music, songs and puppets
For children over 2 to 5 years old, they will surely enjoy Storytime. The library puts together stories and craft activities to foster a love for reading and develop social interaction skills as well as early literacy skills.
Chinese Rhymetime and Bilingual Storytime are also part of the library services. Please check the website to find out about the programs offered by your local library.
Macquarie St, Sydney
+61 2 9273 1414
The state library also offers programs for kids with Kids at the Library for children under 5 years old. The program offers shared stories, craft making, exploring the big library and discovering a wide variety of books.
This program can accommodate groups of 10 children per session.
To join, be in the building foyer every Wednesday at 10:30. A librarian will bring the kids to a secret Storytime location! Come every month for a different theme.\
Holiday programs for children are also available.
Civic Centre, Lot 1865 Stuart Highway, Katherine
(08) 8972 5500
Representing the Northern Territory is Katherine Town Council Library. This library offers Children’s Storytime every Wednesday at 10:30-11:30. The program is literacy based aimed at introducing the library and the books to young children through storytelling, craft, song and dancing.
Stanley Pl, South Brisbane
The Corner is a library service offered by the state’s library. It is tagged as the most kid friendly library in Brisbane.
The program is available in the library or online for children under 8 years old. Children are encouraged to: “explore this site and engage in the creative hands-on and minds-on experience of a digital exhibition, online games and reading activities.”
The Corner does not only offer books but also provides educational toys like “puzzles, dress-ups and props, puppets, computer games, activity mats.”
There are also activities like reading exhibitions, artwork displays, artist led activities and free performances.
Corner North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide SA 5000
(08) 8348 2311
Libraries in South Australia came up with ways to entice the children and their parents to visit.
Engaging and interactive activities for babies 0-2 years old are available with programs such as Baby Rhyme Time, Wiggle Giggle Read or Baby Bounce.
Children 2-5 years old, on the other hand, will enjoy attending the library’s program: Preschool Storytime. This 30-45 minute program combines stories, nursery rhymes, songs, finger plays and crafts to keep children occupied while learning.
Head office: 91 Murray Street Hobart
Tasmania has several programs for children including Rock and Rhyme for babies up to two years old. Rock and Rhyme aims to help babies develop “listening, memory, and word skills.” In half an hour, children will be listening to stories, and singing and dancing to nursery rhymes.
Preschoolers have the Storytime program using stories, rhymes and songs more appropriate for their age.
Check the website for other programs available and to find out which libraries have the programs offered.
253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
+61 3 9658 9500
The Melbourne Library service has a weekly library program for the young children in the city.
Babies to 18 month olds can be an active member of the library with the program Songbirds. The program aims to introduce children to the beauty of language through songs, rhymes and stories.
Children older than 18 months can move on to Stompers, The thirty minute program will surely encourage your child to love books through fun activities with stories, songs, rhymes, and music.
By three years old, children can go to the program Storytime a 40-50 minute activity with stories, songs and rhymes that children up to age 5 will surely enjoy.
These programs are available in all of the Melbourne Libraries. Please check the website to get the schedule for each program in your area.
These programs only run during school days. Different programs are available for school holidays.
State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne
03 8664 7000
Victoria’s state library created the Play Pod to invite children under 8 years old to read, create and play.
Every season offers a new theme for library goers. Check out their website here to find out what they have in store now.
Play Pod is located at the courtyard from 10 am to 4 pm. There are no bookings or fees necessary to enjoy the activities.
25 Francis St, Perth WA
Through the initiative of the state library, Better Beginnings was developed to serve as a “universal family literacy program” for children 0-5 and their families.
The library also started The Place where activities for young children like Baby Rhymetime, Big Stories for Little People, International Storytime and many more are scheduled each week.
Go and visit the library nearest you and avail of the services especially for the children or just take a corner with your children and let them observe other people in the library and check the vast collection of books available for them to enjoy.
Special thanks to Libraries of SA for the main image.