Raleigh Moms Blog partnered with Wake County Public Libraries to bring you the information in this post. Raleigh Moms Blog only partners with sponsors who bring the most value to our readers.
If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for places to take the kids that will keep them entertained for an hour or two. Bonus points if the place is enjoyable for mom too and a total win if it’s FREE. Are there places around Raleigh like that you ask? Yes…the Wake County Public Library!
You probably already know that the library is a fantastic place for children and adults alike to spend time perusing an endless bounty of books and then bring home the finds, but did you know that the WCPL also holds classes and events for everyone in the family—all at no charge?
There are 22 library locations around Wake County, each with its own schedule of programs. Several locations are open seven days a week and events take place on weekdays, weekends, daytime, and evenings, so there’s something to fit every schedule.
If you haven’t been taking full advantage of the library, you’ll want to put it on your must-do list for 2019!
WCPL’s programs are extensive and can be almost overwhelming when you first look at their online calendar. You can search the calendar by event type, location, age, etc., which is really useful for narrowing down the best programs for your family.
To help you make the most of the many great things the library has to offer, here’s a “cheat sheet” with an overview of activities for all ages. Be sure to check WCPL’s website for more details and additional programs. Some events require pre-registration, which can be easily done online. And, to stay in the know, be sure to follow WCPL on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and sign up for their monthly eNewsletter!
Your “Cheat Sheet” to Fun Family Programs at the Wake County Public Libraries
*Check your local library for days and times for programming.
- “Every Child Ready to Read @ your library”: An early literacy program that uses singing, reading, writing, and playing in Storytimes for Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Families.
- “Click, Watch, Learn: Storytimes Online”: This online program, created by library staff, lets kids enjoy educational stories and songs at home.
- “Music Together”: An interactive music class for babies to preschoolers that will have everyone singing and dancing.
- “ABC Craft & Learn—A Kindergarten Readiness Program”: 3-5-year-olds participate in an alphabet craft that incorporates pre-reading and writing skills.
- “Ready, Set, School Community Playdates”: Marbles Kids Museum visits the library to help 3-5-year-olds build language, reading, math, and problem-solving skills and get ready to start school.
Kindergarten to 5th Grade:
- “Every Reader Ready to Succeed”: This program targets young readers through Storytimes that encourage reading, strengthens literacy skills, and inspires creative thinking.
- “Discover Your World—Family Movies @the Library”: Some funny, some educational, these movies are great for the whole family.
- “Learning with LEGOS”: Teen Leadership Corps members use LEGOS to assist younger kids with planning, problem-solving, and teamwork.
- “Books With Brian: Featuring See Spot Read”: Children participate in literacy activities and practice their reading skills with certified therapy dogs from See Spot Read.
- “Adventures” (by grade level—K-2nd, K-5th, 3rd-5th): Children learn, create, and explore through hands-on activities with a variety of fun themes—slime-fest, catapult making, log cabin living, airplanes, animals, optical illusions, printmaking, and more!
- Book Club Kits: Encourages kids to start their own book club. With 30 titles to choose from, each kit contains 15 copies of a particular book and a discussion guide.
Teens (Grades 6th and up):
- “Teen Leadership Corps (TLC)”: A leadership program for 6th-10th graders, focusing on the development of leadership skills, community involvement, and meeting other like-minded teens.
- Fun and educational weekly activities for teens that cover an array of interests: board game nights, crafts, forensics, robotics, salsa making, knitting, LEGO nights…
- Contests like the Teen Poetry Contest, where 6th-12th graders are encouraged to express themselves through creative writing.
- Special parties and events with themes like Harry Potter and Black History Month.
- “Meet the Artist”: Visual artists display their work and chat with visitors.
- Author events: Authors read from and discuss their latest publications.
- “Music in the Library”: Live performances—pianists, choirs, string quartets, and more.
- Fiction and Non-Fiction Discussion Groups: Monthly, librarian-led discussions about specific books.
- Classes for personal and professional enrichment, like gardening, creative writing, Quickbooks, local history, travel, genealogy, CPR, budgeting, stress management, and career counseling.
- Book Club assistance: WCPL offers book club kits for over 500 adult titles. These can be browsed and reserved through their online KitKeeper.
- “Lucky Day Collection”: Additional copies of popular titles with long waiting lists are displayed together at branch locations. These can be checked out on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you’re lucky enough to find that new release you’ve been dying to read, you can take it home and avoid the waiting list!
Reading for All Ages:
- Book Lists: Suggested reading lists created by librarians for kids and adults.
- Custom Book Lists: Tell a librarian what books and authors you like, and they’ll put together a list of eight to ten suggestions, individualized for you.
- A downloadable library of eBooks and eAudiobooks for all ages.
- “A Few of Our Favorite Things”: Annual year-end booklet created by librarians, listing their current favorite books for adults.
- Summer Reading Program: Encourages reading during the summer for babies to adults. Chances to win prizes for checking out books, attending library programs, and more.
- Express Book Bag: Readers 16 and older, complete a short online form about the type of books you like and a librarian will choose 3 books for you and have them ready for pick up at a local library.
With all of this and more to choose from, the WCPL makes it easy for moms to say Yes @ The Library!
Nic Willcox, the school-age librarian at the Leesville Community Library, ranks Storytimes, K-5th Adventures, and Learning with LEGOS as her favorite family programs because these three weekly events engage, entertain, and educate kids from babies to teens.
My son and I have our favorites too. When we first moved to Raleigh a couple years ago and really didn’t know anyone, we started going to the Wake County Public Library’s Storytimes. It was a great way for my son to make new friends while having fun listening to stories and singing songs. Storytime visits also gave me the opportunity to have a much-needed chat with other moms. Now that my son is a little older, he loves the “Learning with LEGOS” events. They let his imagination run wild and he’s inspired by the fantastic creations of the other kids. Another WCPL program that I’m sure will soon be one of our favorites is “Books with Brian: Featuring See Spot Read”. As a kindergartener who’s just beginning to read, he’s very excited by the idea of reading to a certified therapy reading dog. He recently told me he thought he should be better at reading before trying to read to the dogs at the library. I assured him that the doggies wouldn’t mind if he read slowly or mispronounced a word or two. My son can’t wait to give it a try and I can’t wait to watch!
What are your family’s favorite Wake County Public Library programs? Share with us in the comments below! We always enjoy hearing from you!