Bookstores and libraries abound on the North and South Forks, and some of our country’s most popular writers have called the region home. But while our children may not yet be able to appreciate Truman Capote or Nelson DeMille, kids' storytime sessions offer them an introduction to age-appropriate literature—and a fun one at that. Almost every East End library hosts some manner of children’s storytime, but a handful offer their own unique approaches. We've rounded up our favorites. And for more activities in the area this summer, check out our Hamptons & North Fork Guide.
Amagansett Free Library
215 Main Street, Amagansett
Sessions are held for toddlers 10 months to 3 years (Tuesdays at 10:15am) and preschoolers 3 to 4 years old (Mondays at 2:15pm) with a focus on literacy development. Additionally, a special, hour-long family session at 3:30pm on Saturdays includes seasonally appropriate story and craft time. Advance registration is required; the library is closed Saturday, July 4, 2015.
2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton
The Hampton Library’s program is unique among East End libraries: It continues year-round, every Saturday at 10am (except for holidays) and sessions are designed for children of all ages. In addition to stories, children enjoy arts and crafts activities and more.
South Fork Natural History Museum
377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
The outdoor museum, the only one of its kind on the East End, offers a host of children’s programs, including a monthly, nature-themed story hour during the spring and summer and beyond. Sessions are designed for children 3 to 5 and are led by museum workshop leaders or nature educators. Activities tied to the story, such as nature walks and scavenger hunts, often follow (weather permitting). Activity fees can apply and advance registration is recommended.
Cutchogue-New Suffolk Library
27550 Main Road, Cutchogue
Here’s a different spin on traditional reading hours: The North Fork library sponsors a storytime yoga session with instructor Mary Hasel that includes stretching, bending and imitating the yoga positions of the characters in the story. Sessions are for children 5 to 8 years old and parents must register in advance for each session.
Downs Farm Preserve
23800 Main Road, Cutchogue
631-765-6450 ext. 219
The Group for the East End environmental organization offers an outdoors-themed story hour for children ages 2 to 5 at Downs Farm Preserve on the second Tuesday of each month during the summer. Sessions, held from 10am to 11am, can emphasize the North Fork’s cultural and environmental heritage and include craft creation.
290 Main Street, Sag Harbor
The venerable East End rare books emporium offers a special children’s story hour on the first Saturday of each month at 10:30am. Children must be at least 4 years old and accompanied by an adult. Expect a bit more sophistication here than at local libraries and museums, and a reading list that’s more eclectic. Canio’s has a well-earned reputation for supporting local writers and educators.
Photo: South Fork Natural History Museum