Children’s Libraries

Updated July 31, 2012

Q. Are there stand-alone libraries serving children (other than those in schools, that is)?

A. A year ago we reported ten such libraries, but received additional information from our readers.  Here is our current list, with links checked and updated, as well. We now can report sixteen libraries,  ten affiliated with public libraries, one under construction, and five in other settings.

Public libraries with stand-alone libraries serving children:

Bookmarks, a branch of the Dallas Public Library, is located in an upscale shopping mall and offers services and materials for children ages 0-12.

The Children’s Library, administered by the Palo Alto City Library, California, established more than 70 years ago.

Children's Library, Westbury Memorial Public Library in Westbury, NY, established as the Robert Bacon Memorial Library in 1924.  

The Children’s Resource Center, a branch of New Orleans Public Library

Huguenot Children’s Library of New Rochelle, NY (New Rochelle Public Library)

Noyes Library for Young Children, Kensington, MD (pictured), administered by the Montgomery County Libraries

Mamie’s Place Children's Library & Learning Center, Alexander City, AL (adjacent to Adelia M. Russell Library)

Octavia Fellin Public Children’s Library, Gallup, NM.

Prairie Grove Children’s Library, Prairie Grove, AR (part of the Washington County Library System)

Saucier Children’s Library, a branch of Harrison County Public Library in the Biloxi, MS area


Under construction: Children’s Library in Little Rock, being built by the Central Arkansas Library System. On a 5.5 acre site, the planners hope to re-create the eco-regions of Arkansas on the site, including a teaching kitchen, teaching greenhouse, and working teaching tool shed. A collaboration of the Children’s Hospital, the Little Rock School District, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Heifer International.

A little different:

ImaginOn, a collaborative venture of The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library & Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

The Children's Library of the Society of the Four Arts, in Palm Beach, Florida is a subscription-based library for the people of that community which includes a space just for children in a separate building.

Based in an academic setting, the Cotsen Children’s Library is a special library within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton (N.J.) University Library.  Finally, there’s the Grace Rea Garrett Children's Library and Mr. & Mrs. G. Lloyd Bunting Sr. Family Resource Center at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Also in an academic setting is the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books (SCCB), a special library of the Claremont Graduate University's School of Educational Studies, with both a current circulating collection and a non-circulating historical collection.

And pushing the definitions a little, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has a library where story hours are done.  The museum devotes permanent space to Carle, but features other illustrators and authors, as well.

We’d be happy to continue to learn of more such libraries! Send information to library@ala.org.

For more information on the value of library service to children—in all types of libraries—see Add It Up! or the newly re-launched Every Child Read to Read portal.

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Comments

The Fumo Family Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia has been listed, erroneously, as a stand-alone children’s agency. It is not. It is a full-service facility. The confusion may be because some years ago Fumo Family Branch replaced the Ritner Children’s Branch which was devoted to the library needs of the younger generation.

I believe that the free-standing children’s library administered by the Westbury Memorial Public Library in Westbury, NY may be one of the oldest and has a wonderful history related to Anne Carroll Moore of New York Public Library fame. The library’s website has a history of the children’s library at http://www.westburylibrary.org/children%E2%80%99s-history.

There is a sweet little library on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine: The Jackie and Edward Library. It was founded and named in the memory of two children who were swept to sea and drowned in the early 20th century.

It gets a lot of use by the year-round residents and by the summer people visiting the island, as well.

Saucier Children’s Library (branch of Harrison County Public Library in the Bioxi, MS area): http://www.harrison.lib.ms.us/libraries/sc_lib.htm

The Children’s Resource Center (branch of New Orleans Public Library): http://www.nutrias.org/~nopl/info/branches/branches.htm