The library is a great place for children whatever their age. No one is too young to join the library and it’s 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.
Library services for children under five
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. Don’t worry that they might enjoy them a bit too much – there are no charges for lost or damaged children's books.
We also have picture books and recorded rhymes, music and stories for them to enjoy.
Many libraries have free storytime or rhymetime sessions. 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. You can request your Bookstart gifts from any library or the supermobile.
Libraries co-ordinate the Bookstart schemes, which gives free books to all children at two key ages before school to help families read together every day and inspire children with a love of books.
Bookstart bag for babies (for children under one)
The Bookstart baby pack helps parents share stories, rhymes and song with their baby. The content varies, but will include two board books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing books.
To receive the Bookstart bag for babies, ask your health visitor or request a bag from your library.
Bookstart treasure packs (for four year old children)
The Bookstart treasure pack is given out annually through your child's nursery, playgroup or pre-school, or you can request a bag from your library.
Inside the bag is a picture book for you to share, plus a friendly booklet with tips and ideas for reading together.
Booktouch (for visually impaired children), Bookshine (for hearing impaired children) and Bookstart Star (for children with disabilities that impact fine motor skills)
Booktouch, Bookshine and Bookstart Star are free packs of books and guidance materials for children up to the age of four. They aim to give a love of books to blind and visually impaired children, hearing impaired children and children with disabilities that impact fine motor skills.
Is your child having trouble with reading? Ziptales has been created with the aim of making reading a pleasure.
Over 500 interactive stories are available, with voiceovers, puzzles, games, animations, poems, videos and quizzes, all proven to make reading fun. Not only will children love reading the stories, but they will become more confident to pick up a book in the library as well. Ziptales is available for free. Visit the Ziptales website and log in with your library card to find out more.
Library services for teenagers
You can use our PCs use for homework or to check social media, or hang around to use our free wi-fi on your own device.
We can also help you find useful, free online sites to help with your studies. They have been tested by us so you don’t have to filter the good sites from the bad.
This programme led by young people aged 13 to 24 who do reading activities and volunteering to gain skills and experience. It’s a great opportunity to share your passion for reading with younger children, meet new friends and pick up some useful skills along the way. Ask at your local library about joining or starting a local Reading Hack group.
Further useful information
- Books for Keeps
- The Reading Agency
- Words for Life – National Literacy Trust
- Tiny Happy People: your words build their world
- Hungry Little Minds
Reviews of Children’s Books
- Love Reading 4 kids
- Reading Zone – children’s and teen’s book reviews and activities
- UK Children’s Books – reviews by topic
- Reading Well for Children – Junior ages
- Shelf Help – Reading Well for young people
- Calibre Audio – for anyone with a problem with print
- Writing competitions for children and young people
Lots of children’s authors and illustrators have their own websites. Use a search engine to search by name.