5 Reasons Why Libraries Are Perfect for Preschoolers

Many parents of young children often think of public libraries as being for older children and young adults who are able to sit quietly and read on their own. Libraries, however, offer tremendous resources and opportunities for young children and families. 

Surrounding children with books and reading from a young age is one of the most common and valued parenting practices across communities and generations. Books are magical for young children. They have the ability to transport them to new places, invite them to meet with interesting characters, and bring them along on unique and interesting adventures. They offer new experiences and foster connections. And they provide a wonderful springboard for conversations and learning. To read more about the importance of books for child development and growth, read our blog post “A Book is More than the Words on a Page.”

But, books can be expensive. Developing a large collection of beloved titles takes time and money. As young children grow and develop, their interests and favorite titles shift and change with them. And most parents are not aware of the vast options of children’s books available. Public libraries can be an invaluable resource for families with young children. They offer children the opportunity to choose from a vast collection of children’s literature including classics and emerging titles; they provide access to expert librarians; and they include resources beyond just books that all work together to maximize a child’s reading and learning experiences. 


Reasons Why Libraries Are Perfect for Preescholers

  1. Preschoolers love to choose their own books. Libraries are a great place for young children who enjoy making their own selections and having some control over an experience. Letting children choose books that they are interested in creates a sense of ownership and often results in them wanting to read more and more. Children might choose books at varying levels and across a wide swath of subjects. Or, they might choose several books that are all about Legos, construction vehicles, or a favorite character from a television show they love. They might find familiar board books, stumble on a collection of early readers, or find some picture books they cannot wait to read. Whatever they choose, this self-selection is a powerful tool in their reading journey. 
  1. Librarians are a valuable resource. Children’s librarians are full of information about books and reading. They can serve as a travel guide to the library, teaching your child where to find books and how to navigate the different collections. They can recommend books based on your child’s interests to help you and your child explore something more deeply that they are already passionate about, or they can help to introduce your child to books and topics they have never heard about before, expanding their reading horizons. And, as your child starts to read their very first words, they can help them find books that are a just-right fit for their reading level and interests.   
  1. Libraries have movies, games, and more. Beyond books, libraries often have magazines, DVDs, board games, electronic games, CDs, activity sets, and sometimes even passes to zoos, museums, and other local attractions. Just like books, these items can be checked out and used for a set amount of time. This variety of activities makes the library a wonderful place to stop by on a rainy day or just before a longer day at home. Because these items are available to borrow at no cost, they provide a great way to try out new things to see what activities your child likes best. For an even more immersive experience, you might choose a DVD, CD, or zoo pass and pair it with a few books of a similar theme. This can make the reading experience truly come alive for your child.    
  1. The library is a great meet-up spot for young children (and their caregivers). Many libraries offer story time, crafting events, and special performances such as magicians and musical groups free of cost and geared especially toward young children. Some libraries offer events on a recurring weekly or monthly cycle and others have one-time special events. You can subscribe to your local library’s newsletter or stop in and check out any postings. These events include fun and engaging learning as well as opportunities for socialization with other similar-aged peers. And, they can be a great opportunity to meet other parents and caregivers!
  1. Spending time at the library and enjoying books with your child supports a lifelong love of reading. Regularly visiting your local library can add a special and unique kind of enjoyment to your child’s reading journey. When young children have positive experiences at the library, they get excited to return. They might choose to revisit a treasured story with a worn-out cover or pick up a new book that will take them on their next great adventure. They might see a favorite friend who loves to giggle with them during the silly part of the story time. They might get a recommendation from a thoughtful librarian that will become their new favorite book. All of this works together to support your child as a reader and a learner: the experiences of visiting a library with your child can create a special bond, based around the joy of books, that grows over time as you read, learn, and explore the world together.