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North, South, East and West: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 2

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Welcome to Part 2 of a post featuring some of our great area libraries!  (Read Part 1 here!)  The concept of libraries is, of course, fantastic, but we in the Columbus area, specifically, are lucky to have one of the greatest library systems in the nation!  If you’re looking for something to do with young kids, most area libraries have story times for various age groups.  (Check out the Columbus Metropolitan Library Event schedule here.)  And in case you’re wondering, most story times I have been to welcome your children who do not fit into the stated age group.  I think this is worth noting because there have been times I thought maybe I couldn’t go to something because it was for my 15 month old, but my 4 year old would have to come along (and vice versa).  My other child has always been welcomed, beyond a doubt!

As I mentioned in Part 1, as parents we can fall into a rut of going to the same (often closest) library all the time.  My goal with these posts is to help you break out of the routine and make a plan to visit a new library!

Okay, onto the details!

Southeast Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

I guess the whole point of this post is that I can say this about all of the libraries I’m writing about, but I’ll go ahead and say it:  This branch really is a GREAT library for reading AND playing!  The Ready for Kindergarten area here is wonderful for young kids!

There is a magnetic wall for making words:

 

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Puzzles on the wall:

A large touchscreen for educational games:

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Learning-to-read toys, games and puzzles:

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A flannel board with letters, numbers and shapes:

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And of course, a lot of great books!

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During the month of March, there was a Brain-Building Class for children up through age 2 and their parents.  When we went the theme was balls, which is Mayson’s favorite!  In April there are ongoing story times for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and families.  These take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Check out the event schedule here.

Check out these cool “letter bean bags” (I’m sure that’s the technical term. 😉 ) with objects inside starting with a specific letter of the alphabet:

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You’ll have a lot of fun at the Southeast Branch, I guarantee it!

Location: 3980 S. Hamilton Road, Groveport, OH 43125
Phone:  614-645-2275

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Whitehall Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

One of the newest (and most modern) branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is the Whitehall Branch.  I love the open and bright feeling in this library.  Another Ready for Kindergarten site, this library is full of activities to inspire kids to learn to read.  The children’s area here is pretty much as separate as you can get from the other areas of the library without being its own building – which means you don’t have to worry so much about how much noise your kids make when they play excitedly here, which they will!

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Your kids are going to love the bus.  That’s a given.  My kids pretended to drive to school – which is exactly the point.  The bus also provides a great opportunity for your kids to learn to take turns.  😉

From circular nooks in the bookshelves to modern shaped seats, this children’s area is perfect for kids to grab a book and make themselves comfortable.

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There are toys for imaginitive play and building vocabulary.

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While we were here we attended a Play to Learn story time.  It was very interactive and fun for the kids.  There was singing, dancing, puppets, stamps and stickers – all with the goal of learning about the letter M – which was also great for Mayson!  He really hit the jackpot on these two library trips!  😉

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I think the Whitehall Branch does a good job of incorporating technology without making it the focal point of the kid’s area.  It’s definitely available and relevant, but there are also so many opportunities for learning through play.

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This library is also a lot of fun for picture taking!  If you want to see more, I added the pictures here because I took so many of them! 🙂

Location: 4445 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43213
Phone: 614-645-2275

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

If you haven’t yet been and are looking for somewhere new, these libraries will be an exciting change of pace for the kids.  I’d love to hear your libary recommendations, so leave me a comment below and I’ll put them on my list to check out!

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ICYMI: 5 Go-To Places to Take Your Kids in Columbus


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North, South, East and West: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 1

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We all have our favorite, local library, but what about branching out for something new?  Today I’m featuring libraries with great children’s areas!  These are libraries where not only can you come home with a bag full of books, but you can easily pass a morning with all the other things they have to offer!  Today’s post features libraries on the North side and the West side.

Hilliard Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

EDITED July 11, 2018: The Hilliard Branch has relocated to a renovated location at 4500 Hickory Chase Way, Hilliard, OH 43026

A few years ago – yes, years – a friend of mine told me this was a great library.  But it took me a long time to get here.  I was so pleasantly surprised when we finally did visit, that I wished we had come sooner!  The children’s area here has a nice, natural separation from the rest of the library, which means that your little wanders won’t easily escape!

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This is also one of the few libraries I can think of with a train table – always a plus in my boys’ book!

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There is a puppet stand, interactive toys for toddlers and a lot of nice seating for reading together.  On this visit, we arrived too late for story time, but they do offer it frequently for all ages.  See here.  This library opens at 9AM, too, which might be especially good for early risers!  (Though my kids wake up WAY too early and I still can’t seem to get out of the house before 10AM!)IMG_8931

Location: 4500 Hickory Chase Way, Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-645-2275

Hours:
Mon-Thur: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Karl Road Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library

This is a great library for Pre-Kindergarten activities!  The children’s area is especially geared toward Kindergarten readiness.  There are special activities designed around letters, numbers, writing, and obviously, learning to read.

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There are cubbies filled with games , toys, puzzles and coloring activities designed to help your child learn to read.
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There are story times for different ages on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Their weekly schedule is always listed here.  On this visit, we coincided with baby lap time for ages 0-18 months. I squeaked in with my 19 month old!  🙂  After a series of songs, rhymes and books there was an interactive playtime at the end.  (Jaden, though he tried to play it “too cool for the babies,” couldn’t resist free play!)

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One of my favorite things about this library is the bus:

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Inside the bus are seats for reading together.  I know one addition to this bus that my kids would love would be a steering wheel.  But I suppose that might cause too many fights!  😉

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There’s a lot of great seating here, too, and this is another place where there is a good separation between the children’s area and the rest of the library.  As Jaden has gotten older, he has wanted to sit and read books at the library (imagine that!).  But it is really nice to be able to keep an eye on my little 19-month-old wanderer when he wants to play.

Location: 5590 Karl Rd., Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-645-2275

Hours:
Mon-Thur: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Feel free to comment below to tell me about another library you love, and stay tuned for Part 2 featuring more fun libraries great for reading AND playing!


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