If you haven’t figured it out already, your local library can be a parent’s best friend. Not only can you – and your little one – lose yourself in the joy of stories, characters, pictures and, of course, words, but there are so many fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. The best part? They’re totally free! So read on and get ready to head to your neighborhood library.

photo: King County Library System

Story Times

Most local libraries offer weekly infant/toddler story times. Enjoy classics and new-to-you, age-appropriate books read by a local librarian in a dedicated event room (which is good news for busy and more-active-than-your usual-library-patrons kiddos). Many reading events are also offered in a variety of languages – Chinese (Shoreline, Sammamish), Spanish (Kirkland, Des Moines Renton, Shoreline, Woodinville, Valley View, Redmond), Arabic (Tukwila), Hindi (Redmond), Farsi (Kirkland), Russian (Sammamish, Covington, Crossroads), Mandarin (Lake Hills), Japanese (Kingsgate, Lake Hills), Tamil (Crossroads) and Hebrew (Bellevue) – just to name a few!

Click here to view story times at a King County Library nearest you.

photo: Burke Museum

Special Library Activities

The Bug Program
Are creepy crawlies your sidekick’s thing? If your kiddo is 7 or under, visit the North Bend King County Library to learn about bugs that live in your neighborhood. After learning all about bees, beetles and other four-legged creatures, kids will get to build their very own bug catcher to take home. Psst…this program is presented in collaboration with the Master Gardener Program of King County.

Note: Registration required beginning October 11. All kids must be accompanied by an adult.

Date: Oct. 18, 2017
Time: 4:15 p.m.–5:15 p.m.
Location: North Bend King County Library

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/59adc3c63338a63400df6222

photo: Caspar Babypants

Jump for Joy Concert
Who doesn’t love Casper Babypants? Join Seattle’s favorite kindie rocker for tons of singing and dancing fun at this high-energy, family concert. The 45-minute set will feature songs from Caspar’s latest album, “Jump for Joy.” Sponsored by the Friends of the Auburn Library.

Date: Oct. 19, 2017
Time: 10:30 a.m.– 11:15 a.m.
Location: Auburn King County Library

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(1490)/event/59adb282ab74332400db2d11

Sophie the Spider Story Workshop
It’s the perfect time of year to talk spiders. And who says they’re scary anyway? Join your friends at the Kenmore King County Library to learn about the “world of web spinning” and work together to help a spider friend make her masterpiece. Psst…all participants will get to make a spider puppet to take home!

Date: Oct. 20, 2017
Time: 10 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Location: Kenmore King County Library

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(1519)/event/59aebe0be0dfc94200ce1325

photo: Reading with Rover Facebook page

Reading with Rover
What could be more fun than books and pups? Help your budding reader build his or her skills and confidence by reading aloud to a certified therapy dog. Reading with Rover is a community-based, literacy program that works with schools and libraries throughout the greater Seattle area. Open to any school-aged kiddo accompanied by an adult, you can find Reading with Rover sessions at King County Libraries throughout the year including Algona Pacific on Oct. 18; Covington on Oct. 15; Sammamish on Oct. 12; Woodinville on Oct. 11; Renton on Oct. 10, 2017 and Lake Hills on Oct. 25.

Date: Oct. 25, 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m.–7 p.m.
Location: Lake Hills King County Library

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(1522)/event/59aec7c3f3ffa72e00169a7c

photo: Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

Story Time at the Park
Head beyond the library walls to Redmond’s Farrel-McWhirter Park for a special story time series all about farms and the changing season. Stories, songs (and a surprise or two!) will be in store for little participants. Psst…if like most parents you’re running late – this story time will be repeated at 11 a.m. Score! All ages are welcome.

Note: Story time will take place outdoors, weather permitting! Rainy day? Inside seating in Farrel House is limited to 45 people.

Date: Oct. 20, 27 & Nov. 3, 2017
Time: 10 a.m.–10:30 a.m. & 11 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Location: Farrel-McWhirter Park

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(1533)/event/59837288fe0fa93500005143

Festival of Lights from Around the World – Story Workshop
Light is often the symbol of hope and happiness and many cultures celebrate light in the darkness of winter months. Kids ages 3 & older can come and learn about these celebrations like St. Lucia Day, the Winter Solstice, Loi Krathong, Diwali and other festivals of light from around the world.

Note: Space is limited. Tickets available 30 minutes before the program begins. Presented by Live Paint.

Date: Oct. 28, 2017
Time: 1 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
Location: Lake Hills King County Library

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/fq=branch_location_id:(1522)/event/59aec7ab3338a63400df6c79

Little Library Scientists
Set up as a series of programs, your curious scientist will join Miss Laurie for stories and hands-on science activities. Ages 3-6 will learn about the human body through simple experiments that explore the digestive tract (gurgle, gurgle), the human heart and our insides during the Nov. 3 session.

Note: Space is limited. Registration begins two weeks before each class. You must register individually for each class in order to attend. Please choose either the 10:15 a.m. or 1 p.m. session. Visit the library or call 206-362-7550 to register.

Date: Nov. 3, 2017
Time: 10:15 a.m.–11 a.m. & 1 p.m.–1:45 p.m.
Location: Shoreline King County Library

Ms. Bee’s Play Place
Drop by the Fairwood King County Library to enjoy 45 minutes of interactive, play-centered activities designed for little ones ages 6 and younger. Meet other families and see first-hand how play encourages language skills and social and emotional development. Sponsored by the Friends of the Fairwood Library.

Dates: Nov. 6 & Dec. 4, 2017 (1st Monday of the month)
Time: 10 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Location: Fairwood King County Library

More info:kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/local_start=2017-11-06%20TO%20&fq=branch_location_id:(1508)/event/59adc2d7e0dfc94200ce08f2

The Tale of Two Bad Mice Puppet Show
This Bellevue King County Library event will be held at the Crossroads Community Center. Join the Thistle Theatre gang for a rousing puppet show featuring Tom Thumb, Hunca Munca and a young Beatrix Potter.

Date: Nov. 27, 2017
Time: 4 p.m.–5 p.m.
Location: Crossroads Community Center, 16000 N.E. 10th St., Bellevue, Wa 98008.

More info: kcls.bibliocommons.com/events/search/local_start=2017-11-27%20TO%20&fq=branch_location_id:(1492)/event/59d2a193d8004c3f00ce6066

photo: Pixabay

Halloween Activities

Monday, October 30, 2017
Boulevard Park King County Library
7 p.m.–8 p.m.
Halloween games and snacks. Costumes welcomed, but not required.

Tukwila King County Library
4 p.m.–5 p.m.
Solve the mystery of the missing librarian! Ages 10 & older.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 
Auburn King County Library
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Put on your costume and parade through the library and enjoy a not-too-scary Halloween story time. All ages.

Issaquah King County Library
10:30 a.m.–11 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.–noon
Puppets Please Marionettes Puppet Show. All ages.

photo: Pixabay

Book Swap

If you’ve got books at home that you’re done reading – what better way to give them new life than with a book swap? Bring in up to five good condition books to the library and trade them in for some new-to-you titles.

Note: Limit 5 trade-ins per child, per event. Books should be appropriate for children ages newborn to 12 and must be in good condition. Sponsored by the Friends of the Snoqualmie Library.

Date: Nov. 2, 2017
Time: 3:30 p.m.–5 p.m.
Location: Snoqualmie King County Library

Additional Dates: Tues., Nov. 14 at the Fall City King County Library from 3:30 p.m.–5 p.m. and Mon., Nov. 27 from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. at the North Bend King County Library.

Good to Know
The Burien King County Library provides Kids’ Café: Free Afternoon Meals. Running Mondays through Fridays Oct. 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27 & 30-31 from 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m., kids ages 1-18 can pick up a free bite to eat thanks to Food Lifeline and the United Way of King County.

Do you and your little one have a favorite King County Library event or activity? Do you attend regular story times? Tell us in the comments below.

— Jennifer B. Davis