Books, Reading Nooks and More in the Bay Area's Libraries

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
April 24, 2017

One of the easiest ways to inspire your child to read is to take her to the local library. Libraries provide books and programs for children as young as six months old, so it can be the starting point for a lifetime of learning. Almost all libraries provide at least a shelf or two of children's books, but some libraries go above and beyond, providing playful settings and imaginative, culturally diverse programs that engage and captivate kids. Here are a few libraries around the Bay Area with programs that are sure to get your little ones excited to visit, read, and learn:

Paws to Read

Kids love the Berkeley Public Library's Paws to Read program because they get to snuggle up with a friendly canine companion for some one-on-one reading. It's a wonderful opportunity for even the most timid of readers to practice their oral fluency and build their confidence with a faithful companion who supports and loves them no matter how many times they have to sound a word out. Other city and county libraries with Paws to Read programs include Pleasanton, Palo Alto, Orinda and San Mateo.

Discover & Go 

At the Redwood City Library, not only can you check out books, you can also check out passes for free admission to some of the Bay Area's top museums and attractions.  Their Discover & Go program  lets library card holders reserve passes to the California Academy of Sciences, the Pacific Pinball Museum, the USS Hornet Museum and other great attractions. You're allowed to reserve only two passes at a time, and the library issues a limited number of passes per day, so reserve yours online as soon as you know when you'd like to go. Other city and county libraries participating in the Discover & Go program include: San Jose, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Costa Contra County, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County. 

A Magical Setting 

Most city libraries have a children's section, but Palo Alto has a library dedicated solely to children.  The Palo Alto Children's Library is the oldest free-standing children's library, and it's the perfect place for little ones to curl up with a good read. With child-sized furnishings, a special story time room, and a side door that opens up into a magical secret garden, it's no wonder this library is a Bay Area favorite.

Bilingual Programs

The San Jose Library has an incredible number of bilingual story times to help parents and caregivers immerse their little global citizens in a second language.  Spanish/English story times are held weekly at the Alum Rock Branch Library, Seven Trees Branch Library, and the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library. Mandarin/English story times are held weekly at the Alviso Branch Library and the Berryessa Branch Library. In addition, the Evergreen Branch Library holds Vietnamese/English story times once a month, and volunteers read to children in Vietnamese at the Bascom Branch Library every Saturday morning.

Don't forget to check each library for the latest programs, times, and schedules before you go. Have fun reading!    

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