For Parents & Caregivers
Getting your child a library card
How old does my child have to be to get a library card?
They just need to be born! You can get your child a library card at age 0. Some parents like to get their child a card right away, while others like to wait until the child is old enough to participate in this special experience.
How do I get my child a library card?
See details here. You can sign up for a temporary card online, then come in with required documentation to get your child a card with full library privileges. Your child needs to be present with you when you get them a full privileges card, and you will sign a form that gives you full responsibility for their account as long as they are a minor.
Only a parent or legal guardian may sign up their child for a library card.
Services and programs for kids
Ask your librarian what special opportunities are available for your family! Here are some examples:
- 1,000 Things Before Kindergarten: Prepare your child for school with easy daily activities that build skills in reading, counting, socializing, resilience, and more! Earn prizes as you go. Ages 0-5.
- Little Explorers and StoryTime: Bring your toddler or preschooler to programs that enhance their creativity and promote learning and literacy in a fun way. Parents can pick up great tips, too! (Bonus: It's a great opportunity to talk with other adults while kids play.)
- Take-and-Make activity kits: Pick up a kit-to-go with materials all prepared for hands-on learning and fun. Great for the whole family!
- Clubs for STEM, LEGOs, Art, Chess, and more are held on a regular basis, as well as many other special programs and events. Check our Events Calendar for more opportunities!
- HelpNow: Live online tutoring and resources for homework help and test prep. Live certified teachers available 7 days a week, 2pm-11pm. Grades K-college.
- Beanstack: Use this app to participate in monthly or seasonal reading and activity challenges, including the Summer Learning Challenge.
- Just for Kids: Streaming videos and games that are kid-safe, ad-free, and educational. From Sesame Street to The Berenstain Bears, kids and parents can enjoy TV shows, songs, audiobooks, games, homework help, and more.
- NoveList K-8 Plus: Get reading recommendations for fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels. Includes read-alikes, series info, and extra content like book reviews and discussion guides. Search by age, reading level, grade, and more. For grades K-8.
- Research databases: Use the Kids tab to find online resources for kids' research and learning
Monitoring your child's library use
What authority do I have over my child's library account (library card)?
As the parent or legal guardian, you have full control of and access to your child's account (card) until they turn 18 or are legally emancipated.
What control do I have over my child's use of the library and its resources?
You have total control, and it is wholly your responsibility to monitor your child's use of the library, including access to and use of materials, space, and events. Library staff will in no way monitor your child's use of the library, except to address any violations of library policies.
Can my child come to the library without me?
We take children's safety very seriously in our libraries. As stated in our Unattended Children Policy, any child under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a responsible adult age 18+ in all of our libraries. This accomplishes a few things:
- Protects your parental rights to monitor your child's access and use of library resources.
- Enhances minors' safety and security in a public space.
- Reduces the potential for disruption to other patrons and staff.
Library staff have many responsibilities and serve many patrons, and they cannot serve as caregivers or monitor any minor's activity, safety, or behavior on library property. For their protection, minors under 13 left unattended in the library space may be reported as abandoned minors to law enforcement.
I don't want my child to find material that I feel is unsuitable for them.
Our children's and young adult collections contain content that is specifically identified by publishers and reviewers as intended and appropriate for those audiences. That said, titles that are enthusiastically embraced by some parents may be viewed as harmful or objectionable by others. Every family and child is unique, and only you can decide what is appropriate for your family.
We fully support your parental rights to choose content that is suitable for your own family.
- Children under age 13 must be accompanied by a responsible adult age 18+ in all our libraries.
- The caregiver is responsible for all the child's activities and access in the library.
- Parents have full control of their child's library account until they turn 18.
- Parents can connect multiple family accounts for easier access.
To learn more about how materials are selected and how to express concerns about materials, see our Collection FAQs.
How can I preview titles to see if they would be suitable for my kids?
- Flip through or read/watch them yourself first! This is the best way to ensure that what your kids consume aligns with your family values and choice.
- You can see descriptions of titles in the library catalog, and often find book previews on sites like Amazon.
- NoveList K-8 Plus lists detailed information for many youth titles, and it's great for finding more titles like the ones your child likes.
- Common Sense Media and Parent Previews are additional sources available to screen for specific types of content.