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

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!



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



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

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.



There are cubbies filled with games , toys, puzzles and coloring activities designed to help your child learn to read.

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!)


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


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!  😉


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

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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