Kid-friendly Chicago public library branches

Tote your little bookworms to these kid-friendly library branches.
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LIGHT READING The bright, open Beverly Branch is a welcoming place to introduce kids to the written word.
By Ruth Welte |
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Every public library has a children’s section—but these locales pull out all the stops for young readers from tot to teen.

For tweeting teens Harold Washington YOUmedia
Opened in June, this first-floor space lets tweens and teens tinker with new technologies. The resources available are staggering: Kids can reserve time in an on-site recording studio or try their hand with video-editing software, among other digital enterprises. And, oh yeah, they can read books, too. “[After YOUmedia opened,] there was quite an increase in how many books [teens] checked out. The technology, of course, is a draw, but also it’s connecting them to the books,” says Mike Hawkins, one of the space’s tech-savvy mentors. 400 S State St, 312-747-4300, youmediachicago.org

For the after-school set Woodson Regional Library
Push through the glass doors that lead to the huge kids’ wing any weekday after the last school bell rings, and you’ll find a vibrant crowd of reading, learning kids. Woodson has a teacher in the library Monday–Thursday and Sundays to help kids with homework and school projects. There are also board games for the kids—but they have to show that they’ve finished their homework in order to get one. Clever librarians! 9525 S Halsted St, 312-747-6900

For babes-in-arms (or laps) Roosevelt Branch
Oh sure, there are a few years at the start where it’s really more about eating the books than reading them, but that’s fine by the librarians at the Roosevelt Branch. The library’s many early childhood programs start with “Hello, baby!” book-sharing time for kids from 0 to 18 months. “We share some very simple picture books or board books,” says children’s librarian Jenna Nemec. “We combine that with nursery rhymes, songs and movement—sometimes we’ll wave scarves or shake little cluster bells to engage their senses and keep their interest.” 1101 W Taylor St, 312-746-5656

For future interior designers Beverly Branch
If what your baby bibliophile wants is a clean, well-lighted place where he can be surrounded by books, head to Beverly. The entire building is new, built in June, and the large, separate kids’ area is exactly what you think of when you hear the words kids’ library: Neat rows of books and cheerful walls surround row after row of kid-sized glossy wood tables and chairs. Thin-screen computers bring in the after-school crowds, and a “reading garden” to the east of the building offers a warm-weather draw. 1962 W 95th St, 312-747-9673

For pint-sized professors Sulzer Regional Library
Head to the Sulzer’s famously extensive collection if your voracious bookworm needs no encouragement to read—just more good books. You can check out the section of parenting books while your little ones browse through shelves of books devoted to science projects and Chicago history. The picture-books section is vast—one librarian estimated that it has 30,000 of them. 4455 N Lincoln Ave, 312-744-7616

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