Welcoming new neighbors, building community

In April, New Moms Oak Park Center and Clare Place opened their doors to the community, inviting us in to see their beautiful new building at 206 Chicago Ave. The new location provides 18 permanent supportive homes for previously homeless families with young children, plus space for community programs and an outdoor playground. “For more … Read more

‘This is an area of need across Oak Park’

When visiting local daycares and preschools, Children’s Outreach and Programming Specialist Jenny Jackson (pictured) always includes social and emotional concepts in her storytimes. “What do you think ‘anxious’ is? Have you ever had butterflies in your tummy?” she asks as reads aloud to preschoolers in the PreKindergarten Partnership (PKP) classes at Longfellow Elementary, one of … Read more

Early learning tips for kids, infants, April 2019

Early Bird Readers: Early learning tips for kids, infants up to age 5 #EarlyLearners

Hello, Early Bird Readers! In today’s video, Miss Jenny and Miss Shelley will continue talking about social-emotional skills, this time using songs and breathing to help kids name and regulate hard emotions. About Early Bird Readers Early Bird Readers is a digital early learning program to support parents, caregivers, and teachers. It is based on … Read more

Sharing 1,000 books: ‘It has been truly special’

Father and son reading at Maze Branch

Navin doesn’t start kindergarten until fall 2020, yet he’s already read more than 1,000 books! Committed to the long-term goal of reading together well before kindergarten, Navin and his family participated in the library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. It’s designed to prepare babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive ready to learn come kindergarten. “We … Read more

Celebrating early readers: Thousands of books and counting

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten graduation certificates

It’s been one year since we launched our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, and our early readers are off to a fabulous start. The library’s long-term reading program is designed to prepare babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive ready to learn come kindergarten. So far, 36 families have achieved the goal of reading 1,000 books together … Read more

New sensory garden at Maze Branch brings fall fun for kids with special needs

Sensory Garden Launch

October is National Disability Awareness Month. All month, families and kids with special needs can find fun at the library, with programs featuring stories, songs, and movement, plus tools and supports to help all children be successful. The fun includes yoga, spooky stories, and exploration of our just-launched sensory garden at Maze Branch. Accessible and … Read more

9 ways to encourage spontaneous, meaningful language

Encouraging spontaneous, meaningful language

This spring, parents and caregivers of children from birth to age 5 participated in a special workshop at the library, learning how to enrich their children’s lives with language and play. Pediatric speech-language pathologist Clare Kilbride from Kids Unlimited Therapy Services in Oak Park joined us to discuss communication milestones, red flags for communication, and … Read more

Raising kids? Top 5 reasons you need your library

Kids at 2018 Code Fest

Know someone without a card? September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Help us spread the word about all the great things libraries have to offer! Learn more about getting and using your card » #1: You get to say yes more No late fines and automatic renewals? Go ahead, get all the books, music, and movies … Read more

Tools for talking about race with kids

Book Covers: Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel, So You Want To Talk About Race By Ijeoma Oluo, Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children by Jennifer Harvey, Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes, Skin Again by Bell Hooks, We Came to America by Faith Ringgold

Last year, the founder of local Facebook group Raising Race Conscious Kids in and around Oak Park reached out to us. Although she had been raised to be “color-blind,” Andrea Kovach wrote, she is raising her 3- and 6-year-olds differently because “research has shown that instead of dismantling structural racism, that way of parenting just … Read more

How we support kids of all abilities

Scanner pen

“One way we welcome all families into the library is providing supports for kids with disabilities,” said Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris. Pens that scan and read text aloud With one of the scanner pens available for checkout (pictured above), you can scan text in a book and hear the words read aloud. You also … Read more

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