Before I had kids, I worked at a K-6 school where the library had not been well organized and needed to be automated. One day, our Building Resource Teacher asked me, the most type-A person on the faculty, if I would like to organize and automate it using the system she just purchased. My first reaction was, absolutely!
Even though I was not familiar with a lot of children’s books, I decided I would just read every book I cataloged. As I did this, I couldn’t believe the beauty of these books. Organizing the library led me to an absolute love of children’s books. I started buying the books I loved and saved them in the room that would one day be our child’s bedroom. One year later, the library was fully automated, and I was ready to have the first of my three boys. My best friend threw me a “Baby Book Shower” and asked everyone to bring their favorite children’s book and write a little note about why they loved the book.
From the womb to the cradle to the full-size bed, I was always reading to my kids. I didn’t always know what to talk about or do with my children, but I did know what to read to them. Because our home collection was never enough, we would often visit our local libraries and their story hours. We live in Douglas County, so we spent years enjoying every single book in their collections and then I decided to branch out and see what other libraries were like.
These “field trips” to unfamiliar and far away libraries were fantastic! We were able to find collections of books that were not in Douglas County and again a whole new world of stories and adventures were revealed to us. Now that my kids are 16, 14, and 11, they are asking me to pick up books they have placed on hold at various libraries and we often talk about what is happening in these books at dinner or while driving to practices or school.
When we give books to our kids, we open worlds for them to which they can relate, giving them a positive escape. Every book you read to your children is a way to connect with them and help them understand their life. Books also give us a way to hear about worlds we in which we don’t live, and give depth to the worlds we do live in. Books make us ask questions and give us topics to talk about. Some of our greatest adventures have come from opening a new book and listening to the crackle of the spine as a story springs to life. If you want a quick read, I recommend almost any children’s book.
If you have older kids or younger kids, there is something for everyone in a library. Many of the libraries have teen book clubs and game hours and there are always story hours for the toddlers. It does not matter if you live in the city or county of the library; you can check out books using your Colorado driver’s license, which will enable you to get a library card. Here is a small list of our very favorite libraries:
Denver Libraries: https://www.denverlibrary.org/locations
Denver is full of fantastic libraries and each one is unique because of its history.
The Decker and Woodbury Branch Libraries each just celebrated their 100-year anniversaries and their history is worth learning about. You could plan to go to one of these libraries and check out books one week and return the books the following week at the other library. Moms and Dads: you will enjoy the old buildings in which these books are housed, as well as their history.
The Denver Central Library is also a favorite, and because of its four floors, you can spend hours exploring the building and end on the main floor in the children’s library to either find more books or do a project with the many planned ones. The thing I love about the Central Library is that beyond getting books, to the north and west, there are other adventures to be had. When you plan to go to this library you can also walk a little northeast of the building to see the state Capitol and take a free tour. You can’t get all the way to the top of the dome, but when on a guided tour, you are taken to the highest point in the dome that civilians can access. If you cross the street going north, you can enjoy Civic Center Park or last, walk across the street to the west and visit the Denver Art Museum; it’s a full day of adventures, just to get books!
Douglas County: https://www.dcl.org/locations/
Douglas County libraries are all very similar in design with the exception of one: Louviers Library, our favorite one in Douglas County. This library is named after its city and is just southwest of Highlands Ranch off Santa Fe Boulevard. Its long winding road brings you to the unique building. You will find the two-room library on the second floor. We love this library because of the adventure it takes to get there and because you can almost always find a new release sitting on the shelf and waiting to be enjoyed. Louviers is only open on Tuesday from 3-8pm and Saturdays from 9am-12 so you really do have to plan for this one.
Another favorite library is Bemis Library, a fairly large one just off Gallup Street and across from the Littleton Historical Museum. You’ll need a Bemis library card to check out books because it is a Littleton not Arapahoe Library. Bemis is an older library, so their very well-maintained collection holds older children’s books full of great and unfamiliar stories. If you start your day early, you can go to the Littleton Historical Museum first, for free, and then walk across the street to the library to rest with a good book or story hour.
Websites of the locations of libraries within the Denver Metro Area:
Adams County: https://adamslibrary.org/
Arapahoe County: https://arapahoelibraries.bibliocommons.com/locations/list/
Englewood Public: https://englewood.marmot.org/
Jefferson County: https://jeffcolibrary.bibliocommons.com/locations/list/
Rangeview Anythink Libraries: https://www.anythinklibraries.org/locationsWestminster: https://www.cityofwestminster.us/Libraries/About/LocationsHours