Libraries Offer Free Early Childhood Education

Posters of trees with plastic apples attached
Felt apple pie baking activity

Our local libraries have a lot to offer families with young children, as well as child care providers. Among the benefits are free Early Childhood Education tools. 

Preschool Storytimes offered throughout the week bring parents in with their children to listen to stories, sing songs, and get their hands on activities that help with development and learning. These events are offered Fridays at 11:00 a.m. at the Ligonier Public Library, Mondays at 10:00 a.m. at the Limberlost Branch of the Kendallville Public Library and Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. at the Kendallville Public Library. The Noble County Public Library, with branches in Albion, Avilla, and Cromwell, offers storytime weekly in Albion on Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. In Avilla, storytime is on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. and in Cromwell the sessions are on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to these scheduled events, libraries can also offer activities in local child care centers, as staff time allows. 

Many libraries offer play areas for children, and the Kendallville Public Library is no exception. 

A lot of thought goes into KPL’s play area, which features activities that involve large and small motor skills, role playing, creativity, and imagination. The bottom line…the children are learning (but having fun doing it). 

November’s theme at the Kendallville location will revolve around the new 171 gallon Salt Water Fish Tank that is currently being installed. The theme that was in Kendallville in October, Apple Orchard, moves to to the Limberlost Branch in Rome City in November, so children still have a chance to go apple picking!

KPL Youth Services Assistant Tracey Walton (a former YMCA Preschool Teacher) says she starts with a theme and then challenges herself to find activities that lead to learning.

“Children can take a basket and simulate the activity of picking apples from the trees on our wall,” she said in October. “This activity can be fun by itself or be expanded by reattaching the apples to the velcro circles. This can be a challenge for the younger children but it is amazing to see them troubleshoot as to why it didn’t stick  — it may not match up with the velcro dots on the wall. If they choose, they can bring their apples to market, make an apple pie, sell their pies…lots of role playing in this activity.”

Along with the main theme, Tracey said she usually puts out blocks to build with (enhances motor skills), or magna tiles (motor skills plus visual stimulation when used on the light table). 

“Cute play areas draw attention, but it is the activities that keep them engaged,” said Tracey.

The collections at libraries are filled with enriching books and activities for your children! From STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Kits to Launchpads to Board Books perfect for infants and toddlers, the libraries are dedicated to offering the community what it wants and needs. Is something missing? Just ask about it at your local branch! The great thing about the library systems in Noble County is that they are all part of Evergreen Indiana. This consortium of over 180 libraries in Indiana works together to loan parts of their collection to other libraries. Not everything can be delivered to your home library, but most items can. Plus, your library card can be used when you visit those libraries in person. For a complete list of Evergreen Indiana Libraries, visit this link.

For more information on what your local library offers, here are the people you can contact at each library system:

  • Kendallville Public Library (Kendallville and Rome City): Mary Graber at mgraber@kendallvillelibrary.org.
  • Ligonier Public Library: Angie Scott at ascott@ligonier.lib.in.us.
  • Noble County Public Library (Albion, Avilla, and Cromwell): Kelly Parks at kparks@myncpl.us.

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