A person's first year of life is foundational. In our first year, we create the most synaptic connections we'll ever make, we grow at an astounding rate, and we evolve from the most basic of needs to walking and talking. Babies can be fun, exhausting, and exhilarating, but never boring, and babies need their own support in developing pre-literacy skills and reaching essential milestones.
The Alachua County Library District offers a number of programs and resources designed to help your baby grow and learn through their earliest stages. We hope you'll join us in the ongoing mission to expand your baby's brain.
A number of library branches offer baby-focused programs. the Headquarters Library has Baby Time every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.; Millhopper Branch has Baby Time every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Outside of the city, High Springs Branch offers Baby Time every second and fourth Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. If you're looking for some baby programming on the weekends, Tower Road Branch is offering a limited series of programs called Baby Bugs on Sunday, Oct. 15; Sunday, Oct. 22; Sunday, Nov. 5; Sunday, Nov. 19; and Sunday, Dec. 10, all starting at noon.
In addition, we have several programs that are aimed at young children, all of which are baby-friendly. Tower Road Branch, Headquarters Library, Millhopper Branch, Micanopy Branch, Library Partnership Branch, and Newberry Branch all offer sessions in our beloved Music & Movement series. Every single one of our twelve branches also offers regular Storytime sessions. Be sure to consult our events calendar to explore our full county-wide offerings.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
Yes, a child can read one thousand books before Kindergarten! How? Through the help of their parents, their library, and their community. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative is centered around parents reading to their children, sharing the benefits of literacy with their children before they themselves are literate. Research shows that young children who read with their parents develop pre-literacy skills, bond with their parents, build their vocabulary, and a lifelong love of reading. We power this initiative through Beanstack, the same website and app that we use for Summer Reading challenges. Sign up on Beanstack, or log into your summer reading account, to start building the foundation of your child's literary future.
The Alachua County Library District has a rich and diverse set of books designed to help you parent in whatever way works best for you and your child. Check out the parenting books in our catalog to learn and grow today.
If you're stuck on what books to check out and share with your child, we have a number of reading lists and blogs on our Kids page. If physical books don't work for your family, be sure to check out OverDrive, and its associated app Libby; there's a wide variety of picture books available, including titles that will read out loud along with you. Search in our catalog for "read-along" books for both digital and physical titles that will do the reading part for you, when your voice needs a break.
For little ones, there is a close relationship between growing their brain power, and physical development; this is why sensory stimulation and learning is so impactful on babies and other young children. To help Alachua County Library District patrons with this, we have a collection of sensory toys that you can check out and take home with you
The early years of a child's life can be overwhelming and confusing. With babies in particular, it can be hard to figure out how to juggle engaging your child, getting out of the house, finding resources you need, and still devoting time and resources to yourself.
Our library branches are available to suit the many and diverse needs of your baby as well as you, the parent or caregiver. All of our branches have a dedicated area for children, including interactive play elements, like the Zip-Zap Pods at the Tower Road and Millhopper branches. All of our branches have AWE Computer Stations, computers just for kids loaded with educational games, and most of our branches have computers in the children's area for adults to use. This allows parents and caregivers to get essential work done while still immersing their child in a learning environment.