Libraries for children and young people

Find out what libraries can offer children and young people, from story time to learning resources.

The library is a great place for children whatever their age. No one is too young to join the library and it is free to join and borrow books.

Storytime and other activities for children and young people take place throughout the year. We also have a reading challenge for children each summer and Christmas.

Library services for the under-fives

Reading aloud to your child is one of the most important things you can do. Reading with children helps to develop language and listening skills, stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world.

Libraries have strong, brightly-coloured board books that are ideal for babies and toddlers learning how to handle books. They also have picture books and stories for you to enjoy together. Do not worry that they might enjoy them a bit too much – there are no charges for lost or damaged children's books.

Many libraries have free storytime and rhymetime sessions and other events. They are open to everyone and a great way to explore books with other children and families and make new friends. See your local library for details.

Libraries are abuzz with under-fives enjoying Buzzy Bee’s Honey Hunt, a free scheme that rewards young children who borrow books from the library with cards, stickers and a certificate. A set of colourful cards depicting locations across North Yorkshire are given to each child as they progress through the scheme. As well as the six cards, children collect bee stickers. When they have a full card, they receive a certificate.

Enjoyment of books is a key factor in nurturing children’s development and preparing them for school. Buzzy Bee’s Honey Hunt offers a happy, vibrant and stimulating reading journey, which will add value and entertainment to library visits for young children and their families.

You can join is for our celebration of all things books, reading and learning for pre-schoolers during Under-5s Week – keep an eye on our social media pages for more information.

Family matters and tough topics

Bringing up children has never been easy and there is no magic formula. North Yorkshire libraries are here to help.

Our family matters book collections can be found in our larger libraries and all titles can be requested through any library. The collections are aimed at helping you deal with the ups and downs of family life. There are books to share with children, as well as books for parents, carers, family members and professionals working with children.

Alongside our family matters collections, we also offer a set of books and resources on three tough topics – new baby, divorce and separation, and grief and loss.

These sets are aimed at children aged four to 11 and can be used by parents and carers to aid discussion on these particularly tricky topics. Ask at your local library for more information.

Class visits

Our library teams are very happy to welcome class visits to the library for school groups of all ages. We can work with you to tailor the visit to suit your needs and meet the learning aims of your class. Contact your local library to arrange a class visit.

Teenagers and young adults

Our libraries are friendly spaces, where you can read, meet friends, do homework and access the internet. You do not have to be a member to visit a library. You are welcome to come in and just be in the space to do such things as explore, read, rest, meet others, play and study.

We would encourage everyone to become a library member though, so that you can make the most of your visit:

  • it’s free to join
  • it’s free to borrow books
  • there are thousands of books, comics, eBooks, eAudio, and emagazines for you to enjoy
  • you can use a computer or bring your own device and use the free wifi
  • there are loads of free online resources

We have a great range of young adult books and graphic novels. If you need a little inspiration, our Libraries Instagram account is always packed with great recommendations. Or have a look at GoodReads or #booktok to see what other people are reading and recommending.

To search for a book in a library, download the North Yorkshire library app or search the library catalogue.

There are loads of eMagazines, eBooks, eAudio books and eNewspapers that you can access on your own device, for free, at any time.

Learning resources

If you are looking to find some help with your studies, or to pass your driving theory test or you are just curious, your library can help.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Student for ages 12 to 18: This allows you to view featured spotlights, search biographies and important events, find out what happened on different days and years, select your own birthday or other dates you want to explore and find out how to use the workspace to store information for topics and research.

Encyclopaedia Britannica for ages 18-plus: Since 1768 Encyclopaedia Britannica has been the world’s most famous and authoritative source of information, and is one of the most trusted sources of information on almost every topic imaginable.

Theory Test Pro: his is a highly realistic online simulation of the UK’s driving theory tests for all vehicle categories. It contains all the official test questions licensed from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – the people who set the tests.

These are just some of the many resources available.

Looking after yourself

We have collections of books dedicated to young people’s mental and physical wellbeing. These are called the Reading Well collection. You can reserve these for free, so even if your library does not have them in, help is close at hand. You can find out more about the collection at the reading well website.

You can also borrow a self-care toolkit – a portable collection of items, books and activities to encourage young people, aged 11 and over, to practise self-care and enhance mental wellbeing. They can be reserved and borrowed free from any North Yorkshire library. Contents include books from the shelf help reading well collection, sketch pads, colouring pencils, fidget toys, origami and information on support organisations.

Volunteering – reading hacks

Reading hacks are young people aged between 13 and 24 who volunteer at their local library. As a reading hack you have a chance to gain a wide range of experience while giving back to your community. Have a look at the Reading Agency website for more information.

Chat to a volunteer or member of staff to find out more information about volunteering at your library. Volunteering can count towards your Duke of Edinburgh’s award.


We have lots of events. As these change quite regularly it is best to ask at your library or to follow our libraries' social media accounts.

Further information

More information is available from:

Reviews of children’s books can be found at:

Support is available from:

Children’s authors:

  • lots of children’s authors and illustrators have their own websites. Use a browser to search by name.