Tips for Library Visits with Young Children

The most popular phrase adopted from our every other week library visits is, “Can I borrow that and take it to my house?” My 2.5 year old has a hard time understanding why the library lets you borrow books and movies and why other stores won’t let you borrow their toys, clothes, etc. I’m still wondering the same thing… wouldn’t that be a great idea! :)

Prepare for your Library Visit Tips:

  • Set behavior expectations for your child before you visit the library. My behavior expectations specific to the library are that my boys speak in a “library voice” and ask before pulling books or DVDs off of the shelf.
  • Find a bag to take with you to collect all books and DVDs in that you intend to borrow.
  • Take your children to the bathroom before, and or bring along your diaper bag. This is so easy to forget as you round up your children, books, and movies.
  • Bring along a stroller for infants or toddlers who can’t yet control their hands.
  • Go online and look to see what documents your library requires in order to get a library card. Typically is a driver’s license and a copy of a recent bill showing proof of address.
  • Take along a list of Recommended Books. If you’re new to using the local library begin with a list of Classics/Favorites (check out this 100 Best Book List from . I usually make a list or at least a mental list of books to look for and then my son or I find others that look interesting. You can also search for books that correlate with your child’s favorite author, genre, theme, animals, sport, etc.

While at the Library Tips:

  • Create/have a routine. My oldest son loves getting new movies and going on the elevator to the second floor at our library, so we do that first. This allows him to be able to focus on the books when we go downstairs to select our new books.
  • Use your library bag to collect all items you intend to check-out.
  • Keep any younger children who might run off or grab and pull things off shelves in a stroller. Find a book for them to hold and look at while you help your other children find books.
  • Look for specialty or seasonal books. Some library’s place seasonal stickers on the book binding, or display them on a special shelf or display case.
  • Ask a librarian for a calendar or list of activities, such as story times, teen book clubs, toddler story times with activities, etc.

Taking Good Care of Your “Borrowed Goods” Tips:

  • Remind your children that “borrowing” something means that we have to return it. It is kind and respectful to take good care of things that you borrow.
  • Keep all library books for all members of your family in a “library book” basket in your living room or another special room where you enjoy reading together.
  • Keep markers, crayons, scissors, stickers, glue and other “dangerous weapons” for library books in another room or location.
  • Keep your library movies in a special place, separate from your home movie collection.
  • Mark your calendar of your library book/DVDs due date. I have always been bad at returning books to the library my entire life… until now! My secret is that we go to the library every other week on Fridays (the day everything we borrow is due back). Most libraries give you books and DVDs for two weeks. My oldest son always looks forward to our Friday Library Visits.


  1. These are really great tips! We love going to the library, but my 3 yr old has a hard time being quiet. Giving him something to look at is a great idea. I also love having a designated spot for library items. I’m going to make one at our house! :)

    Hope you’re having a great week!

    • Beth, Totally get the “has a hard time being quiet”! :) My almost three year old has been working on his “library voice” for awhile now… still in progress but IS getting better. Thanks for stopping by! Good luck on your next library visit. :)

  2. Having worked in a library I like your list of tips for families with young kids. Libraries are a wonderful resource for children and it is great to see kids get excited about reading, but it is also important to teach children what is and is not acceptable in the library (and when borrowing library books).

    • Rebecca- Thanks for stopping by! I agree it is really important to teach kids how to respect other people’s things and borrowed items. As a teacher I promised myself that I would teach my own kids to respect library books, as many would come back destroyed from children’s homes.

  3. All great tips, McKenzie. We absolutely LOVE the library- it is such a blessings and a money-saver. We go at least once a week and my daughter loves it and get its excited when its time to go, running around saying “Iiibeeeaaiireee” :)

  4. Heather says:

    Yes, just like Rebecca said: As a children’s librarian, I totally agree and wish that more patrons would intentionally direct their children like this. It would make their library experiences that much more enjoyable. Great job and wonderful blog! Thanks for posting this! :)

  5. These are great library tips. While we still check out the children’s section on occasion so as to help Peanut to become familiar with how a library is organized, we really like taking advantage of online reserves. We can look up a book online, reserve it, and then pick it up at the circulation desk when we visit. Makes for a quick in and out visit which is nice, especially for 2 children under 3. I’d love to have you link this up to Titus 2 Tuesday on Cornerstone Confessions tomorrow.

    Clicking over from The Better Mom.


  6. Great tips! I have a 3 month old and look forward to taking him to the library some day! I find it so strange though that your library only checks out books for 2 weeks! Every library I’ve ever been to is 3 weeks or longer. Ahhh well every library is different.

  7. I am a librarian in this entry brought a huge smile to my face. I wish every single patron who walked through our library doors could follow these tips!


  1. […] *Here are a couple posts from other bloggers, offering some great library tips:  Christine from Fruit N Season has a great post about organizing your library trip!  Also check out Mackenzie’s post from Cheerios and Lattes on taking a library trip with the little folks. […]

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