When the weather is frigid and you just need to escape from your home, a library is usually a good (and free) bet. So we take a look at what the Sugar Grove Public Library offers for children and their parents.
The Little Free Library movement encourages “curbside literacy” by placing free book exchanges worldwide. We have quite a few that your family can visit in the western suburbs.
Here’s what you need to know about the newest library on the scene, the $28 million, state-of-the-art Santori Public Library in downtown Aurora.
You know how you can be inside some libraries and almost not know whether it’s day or night? When I take my toddler to the library nowadays, we’re more in the mood for light and charming than dark and cozy. Light and charming is definitely what you’ll find at the Montgomery campus of the Oswego Public Library. This location only opened about 1 ½ years ago, and it is a real beauty, with a stone front and a low-slung quality that reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style architecture.
The West Chicago Public Library has a train, a wooden structure in the Youth Services department that kids can play on and climb through. The sign says it’s for children 6 and under but it would probably most appeal to toddlers through age 3. My 2 1/2-year-old daughter certainly loved it. The play area at West Chicago is smaller than those at the other libraries I’ve featured so far, but it’s cheerful, the librarians were very friendly and there is quite a bit to do packed in a small space.
The Youth Services department of the Batavia Public Library has a great selection of puzzles, games and toys for kids to play with, and lots of room for them to spread out. In fact, some of our most successful playdates have been at the Batavia Public Library! “The Reading Cottage” is a wooden playhouse located in the Youth Services department, and it has a tiny couch and two chairs inside. I would have loved to have a place like that in my library as a kid.
The Messenger Public Library in North Aurora has a “Quiet Reading Room” featuring a gorgeous stone fireplace. It has a community room that can be reserved for meetings. And it’s just one of those libraries that gives off a cheery, friendly vibe – even on the recent cold, gray day when my daughter and I visited. The Youth Services department is roomy and bright with huge walls of windows. There is a giant rug where kids can sit and play with the puzzles, trucks, trains and other assorted toys kept on nearby shelves. There are lots of small tables and chairs for reading, as well as at least a half-dozen computers on tiny desks. The computers are loaded with educational games featuring classic characters like Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
The “Early Learning Center” at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin features an elevated wooden play structure – almost like a tree house – that kids can scramble on and under.
The other happening spot is an area that features all sorts of wooden kitchen appliances, shelves, dishes and play food. Kids can put on costumes or play with puppets, games and puzzles.