It’s only a matter of time before even the littlest kids will be spouting — and devouring — words, so it’s important to expose them to books early and often. That’s why we’re obsessed with Noyes Library for Young Children, a one-room cottage surrounded by Kensington’s leafy streets and stately Victorian homes. It’s one of only a handful of libraries in the country dedicated exclusively to kiddos (sorry, Danielle Steel fans) and it’s impossibly cute. Here are five reasons we keep flocking there.
#1 There are enough books to go around.
It may be a small and intimate library — a mere 975 square feet — but it’s filled with thousands of books, magazines, audiobooks and DVDs for children of all ages. And believe it or not, this little library-that-could lends out more materials per hour than any other in the entire Montgomery County system.
#2 Crying babies are welcomed with open arms.
Trains, puzzles, dolls and other toys scattered across the carpeted floor keep the littler patrons busy, while parents and older kids browse and borrow to their hearts’ content. The library has been a kids-only joint since it was incorporated into the county library system in 1969. The best part: No dour librarian will shush your exuberant toddler.
#3 Kids get a history lesson, too!
It’s the kind of place you don’t expect to find in this day and age — a little cottage (with its gingerbread house-style mansard roof and scalloped siding) dedicated exclusively to children’s love of reading. And indeed it is a relic of another era. Founded in 1893, it is the oldest public library in the area and is designated as a historic landmark.
#4 It’s about to get bigger and better.
A remarkable 120 years after its founding, the library is still going strong despite recent budget shortfalls threatening possible closure. A foundation dedicated to its survival has even raised money to finance a renovation that will open up the basement and attic for use, expanding its current 975 square feet to a whopping 2,287 square feet. The renovation will provide new storage and space for additional programs and activities.
#5 Two words: story time.
Programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers are free and open to the public, and are anything but the same-old, same-old. For example, bring your little one for story time in sign language at the “Stories by Hand: Playtime Signs” event, or get them singing at “Let’s Go,” a musical exploration of transportation. Noyes also hosts story times with visiting authors, like Kathy MacMillan, who wrote Signing with Children.
10237 Carroll Pl. (Kensington, Md)
Open Tues., Thurs. & Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Did we miss your favorite thing about the Noyes Library? Tell us below!
Photos courtesy of Kariann Z. via Yelp, kensingtonfile via Flickr, Montgomery County Public Libraries via Flickr