Discover all of the wonderful things the Arlington Public Library has to offer children and families! Young visitors and their families will enjoy trips to the first-floor children’s area of the new George W. Hawkes Downtown Library, with its playful seating, up-to-date technology, and a permanent art installation called the DISCOVER wall.
Unstructured, child-directed play has proven to help kids develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. The library encourages opportunities for creative play through programs and resources like storytimes, Family Place, kid-friendly spaces, and Summer Reading Club. Play is crucial for a child’s healthy development and the Imagination Playground allows for creative play and innovation. Click on the different tabs to learn about all of the way kids (and kids at heart) can play at the Arlington Public Library.
Family Place Libraries
Family Place LibrariesTM is a network of children’s librarians nationwide who believe that literacy begins at birth, and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families. Expanding the traditional role of children’s services, Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement, and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development.
A Family Place Library has a welcoming space for children at its core. The Southeast Branch features a family-friendly play area, full of toys for children ages 0 to 5. These toys are always available for free play whenever the library is open. Collections of books, toys, music and multimedia materials for babies, toddlers, parents and service providers are available.
Families can attend developmentally appropriate programming for very young children and their parents. a parent/child workshop that involves toddlers and their parents and caregivers. These workshops feature local professionals who serve as resources for parents; emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children; facilitates early intervention; and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy.
Library staff at Family Place locations are trained in family support, child development, parent education and best practices.
The Family Place Library designation establishes the Southeast Branch as a hub for parent and community involvement. The Library plans to extend its participation in Family Place Libraries to other branches throughout the City.
The Arlington Public Library Family Place Program is made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (2016), and in part by a State-funded grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Learn more about Family Place Libraries at http://www.familyplacelibraries.org/.
Imagination Playground in a Cart is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination PlaygroundTM provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn a space into their own playground, constantly built and re-built by their imagination.
Bethany Fort, the Library Services Manager for youth programming, said, “The library is a space to read, learn, and play. These giant blue blocks will definitely encourage creative play and fun for our families.”
Arlington children will usually find them in the new Downtown Library, and at library events throughout Arlington. Come and build, collaborate and play with these huge, blue blocks at the Arlington Public Library.
The Arlington Public Library has been awarded an Imagination Playground in a Cart™, an innovative playground equipment system, thanks to a grant provided by Target and national non-profit KaBOOM!. KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through play, is working with Target to increase access to play across the country. Grants for Imagination Playgrounds are helping to achieve that goal by bringing active play to more than 430,000 kids across the country.
Read it Again Kits
Our NEW RIA (Read It Again) kits are flying off the shelves! These themed kits are full of educational toys and games, DVDs, CDs, puppets, and of course, books! We have kits about favorite authors, shapes, letters, numbers, animals, princesses, cars, seasons, monsters, holidays, and many more! Each of our kits is themed to enhance your child's enjoyment of learning. Most of the kits are for a 2-5-year-old age range, but for age 2 and younger, look at the "Jr." Read It Again Kits like "Colors Jr., Fish Jr.," etc. Made possible by a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
How do I get a Read It Again Kit?
- Go to your nearest library branch and ask the circulation desk staff member which kits are available for check out at that location.
- If you would like to request a specific RIA kit, go to our library catalog and type "Read It Again" in the search box to see a list of all the kits. Request a kit to be brought to your nearest library branch.
LEGOs At The Library
Legos are a fun way to creatively play and learn a variety of concepts. Activities range from building and programming simple LEGO models or Roominate kits to creative writing using LEGO bricks and minifigures. While playing with the Roominate kits, LEGO StoryStarter and WeDo kits, participants will use their engineering, math, science, and literacy skills. LEGO WeDo kits are an excellent foundation for children interested in participating in the library's Robotics classes. For Ages 9-12.
There are two different types of LEGO kits to offer two unique experiences:
LEGO WeDo: With the WeDo kits, participants combine building with learning the basics of coding and robotics. Small groups will build a variety of objects (sailboat, alligator, and more) and then connect the physical object to a computer. Using the LEGO-computer interface, participants will learn how to make a LEGO build move and make noise with a drag and drop computer coding program. Each activity includes step-by-step instructions for building and coding and a flexibility to learn more through individual exploration. Lego We Do kits are an excellent foundation for children interested in participating in the library’s Robotics classes.
LEGO StoryStarters: The StoryStarter kits allow young writers to literally build creative stories, piece by piece. Small groups work together to write short stories and build Lego scenes. Each LEGO StoryStarter kit is packed with minifigures, animals, costume accessories and props to create fantastical tales! Participants can draw inspiration for their stories from the provided LEGOs, or use the LEGOs to create 3D illustrations of their stories to share with other groups.
Check our calendar for the next LEGO event.
The Play Room
The Play Room, which is lit by a wall of floor to ceiling stained glass windows, is a fun place to enjoy open-ended play which, allows children to socialize, build gross and fine motor skills, and cultivate their imaginations. There is an interactive play wall specially designed for early childhood development. The Play Room is for children ages birth to 5 years old and they must be accompained by a parent.
The playroom is open during library hours but will be unavailable when it is being used for programming.
The Discover Wall, an interactive art installation on the first floor for children to explore. Each letter has a unique feature, from reading nooks to crawl spaces. Large enough to fit the child at heart, there is something for everyone.
Climb through the DISCOVER Wall’s tunnels, sit in its cozy reading nooks, and then explore the rest of the children’s area beyond the wall. The Children’s Book Neighborhood is designed for all children, infants through “tween-agers”, and their families or caregivers. In this section, you can find picture books arranged by themes, first readers, chapter books, and children's non-fiction items. A wall of windows at the south side of the building provides natural light and a view of trees and plants to this bright, colorful space.
Children often learn through play, this space also offers lots of toys, games, lifesize blocks, and other ways to play. From developmentally appropriate toys for babies and toddlers to collaborative gaming systems for older children, there is something for every child.
All gaming systems are currently unavailable.
Xbox One S
Tweens and Teens can choose to play our Xbox One S gaming system. Xbox One S delivers brilliant graphics with HDR technology and premium audio. All the games in the Tween (ages 9-12) are rated E for everyone. Games in the Teen and Young Adult ( 13+) area are rated E for Everyone and T for Teen. Controllers are first come, first serve.
Tweens can choose to play our Nintendo Classic Entertainment game system. The NES Classic Edition system is a miniaturized version of the groundbreaking NES, originally released in 1985. Games are pre-loaded on the system by Nintendo.