This post was written for us by Jill DeMarco.
I have to get out of the house! I know it is already officially Spring, but not every day is park weather. So where is a bored mom to go? The library! I always forget how great the library is and how a good one can keep us all entertained for hours...oh and did I mention it’s FREE? Almost all our local LI libraries with a children’s department have programs geared towards kids of all ages and most usually have a play and reading area, toys and many have computers for our budding electronic generation. But, a few libraries have special amenities that make them even more enjoyable and are worth a visit:
Cold Spring Harbor Public Library– This is one of my favorite local libraries. In a newly built beautiful building, the children’s department has the entire second floor (in other words the kids won’t be disturbing the serious studiers downstairs). I love that I can bring both my kids and drop my four year old off at his “On My Own” story time in the naturally lit, large, round reading room where he starts off listening to great stories for his age group, then moves on to a craft in the craft room and lastly over to the computers for some educational and fun games. In the meantime my 21 month old daughter gets to play with the blocks, puzzles, puppets and more in the play area or do her favorite thing: run through the endless isles of every children’s book you can imagine. All this, while mommy gets to relax and look out over the beautiful view of the harbor. The CSH children’s library also boasts of monthly seasonal and educational programs for the whole family, including: game night, movie night, tots-night-out, walk-in table-top crafts, and much more. 95 Harbor Road, Cold Spring Harbor (631) 692-6820 http://cshlibrary.suffolk.lib.ny.us/
Harborfields Public Library– Harborfields is a small community library, located in Greenlawn with one great big draw – a very large wooden train that the kids can climb all over – like an indoor park. My kids can get lost in it for at least an hour. All the great things one would expect in a larger children’s library: play area, puzzles, games, puppets, computers and lots of children’s books are also here. They have an extensive listing of events including age appropriate story times, music classes, movies, crafts, book clubs and more, providing something for everyone. Another bonus is all the support provided to parents. The library hosts several parenting workshops and the highly attended nursery school open house. 31 Broadway, Greenlawn, NY 11740 (631) 757-4200 http://harb.suffolk.lib.ny.us/
Robert Bacon Memorial Children’s Library – This library is located on School Street in Westbury. When it was constructed in 1924 it was only the 3rd children’s library in the world (after London and San Francisco) given to the town as a gift by a local millionaire’s widow. The library and accompanying gardens were her dream. The library opens up to a beautiful play and craft area with children’s book fantasies painted on the walls. There are great unique programs here in addition to the standard fare of story, music and craft including holiday events, dance time, Mother and Daughter Book clubs, Wii music program, movie nights and more. 374 School Street, Westbury (516) 333-0176 http://westburylibrarykids.blogspot.com/
Port Washington Public Library – The Port Washington Library is part of the Family Place Libraries which “redesign the library environment to be welcoming and appropriate for children beginning at birth; connect parents with the resources, programs and services offered at the library and other family service agencies; and reach out to non-traditional library users. This creates the network families need to nurture their children's development during the critical first years of life and helps ensure all children enter school ready and able to learn.” This really caught my attention and seeing the beautifully decorated wide open spaces and incredible gardens also made their mark. This library has events and workshops for new parents, parent and child, preschool, and school age kids. There are movie nights, vacation week events, and contests all making the library seem more like an adventure than learning. Library Drive (516) 883-4400 http://www.pwpl.org/childrensroom/index.html
Huntington Public Library – This library is at the heart of Huntington Village, where you can walk around the village, shop a little, grab some food and enjoy the “Little Apple”, as my husband likes to call it. The Huntington library focuses on the whole family and provides many new parent workshops as well as story time, craft projects, music programs and artist series. 338 Main Street, Huntington (631)427-5165 http://hplchild.blogspot.com/