Although summer is normally a time for outdoor fun, on days when it’s too hot (or it’s perfect, but you and your kiddos need a few good books to bring poolside…hint-hint), step inside one of these area libraries. From live animals (gerbils!!) to arts and crafts, each of these public libraries offers kiddie programing that is just as fun as running cannonballing into your neighborhood watering hole. Really!


Watha T. Daniel / Shaw Neighborhood Library
What could be more unique than two library gerbils, Salt and Pepa? Not only can your kiddos spend some time with the three year old residents next to the reference desk, but they can keep up with the gerbils’ diary series (now written by wonderful librarian Theresa Wang) here. The library also boasts cool activities like “Crafternoons” (Mondays), “Reptiles Alive!” (with real reptiles), and musical performances from kindie bands like Uno, Dos, Tres.

1630 7th St., NW (Shaw U.)

Oxon Hill Library
Oxon Hill library is part of Prince George’s County Memorial Library System’s Summer @ Your Library program, which includes a lot of physical participation for active kids. Some of the events the library offers include: “The One-Step MagiCompany,” “Weekly Buildfests,” “Origami Days,” and, believe it or not, “Catapult Days”!

6200 Oxon Hill Rd. (Oxon Hill, Md)


Georgetown Neighborhood Library
When you think of science, do you also think of movies? Georgetown Neighborhood Library has a summer series called “Science at the Cinema,” where kids do experiments and then watch a movie that goes along with it. Plus, you can’t beat the Georgetown location—not only can you take your kids to pick up a few books from their summer reading lists, but you can also explore Georgetown’s surrounding neighborhood of sights and parks (and shopping!!).

3260 R St., NW (Georgetown)

Mary Riley Styles Public Library
As you can tell by the flying Captain Underpants décor, Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s children’s section is all about entertainment. They have tons of ongoing activities posted on their bulletin board where you can meet other parents glad for a break and your kids can make new friends, including “Playdate Café,” where parents meet to talk while their young children play with toys; “Bedtime Math,” where kids do math before bed; and “Paws to Read,” where kids read with therapy dogs, to name a few. Other one-time gigs, like “Attack on the Fort” and “Legos in the Library,” are available as well.

120 North Virginia Ave. (Falls Church, Va)


Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
In addition to a wonderful summer reading program and other fun activities, including classes on bioscience and a group called STEAM (where kiddos learn about one subject from the perspectives of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and/or Mathematics), MLK is extremely focused on early literacy. The Early Literacy Room for kids under five years old includes manipulatives for little ones to work on their fine motor skills, mirrors, dress up clothes, and an alphabetized library of board books. Be sure to get there early—a recent story time had a whopping 200 kids show up.

901 G St., NW (Metro Center)

Gaithersburg Library
Like most of the libraries in the area, the Gaithersburg Library has children’s music programs, science/storytelling programs, and an awesome animal event called “Living Planet” on August 21 with the National Zoo (free tickets will be handed out an hour before). What makes this library really cool, however, are their kits: “Little Explorer” (preschool through second grade) and “Young Voyager (grades three through six). Each of these bags, a backpack or a duffel, contains a couple books, some kind of manipulative toy, and an iPad preloaded with apps. Kids can explore each kit at the library, or check them out for two weeks!

18330 Montgomery Village Ave. (Gaithersburg, Md)

Do you have a favorite area library where you take the kiddos? Tell us about it in the comments section below. 

—Kelly Ann Jacobson

Photos courtesy of Kelly Ann Jacobson,  Shaw Neighborhood Library