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Youth Services: Children are Job One

At the St. Louis Public Library, children and teens are a priority. Our mission — to "promote lifelong learning" — begins in childhood. We believe that kids need a place to be kids. That is why, our Branches have space specifically designed with the needs of children in mind; a Central Youth Services Department with extensive professional and study collections for those who work with children; and an entire floor at the Buder Branch devoted to youngsters and their needs. Teen Lounges, some with sound domes, encourage teens to "hang out" at the library and to use materials especially for them - Playaways, YA literature and CDs!

Youth Services has sturdy board books for babies and picture books for children up to about second or third grade. Longer novels and series paperbacks like Encyclopedia Brown, The Baby Sitters Club, and American Diaries are available for older children. Meanwhile, teens have their own Young Adult Fiction sections.

Of course, the Library has non-fiction for both schoolwork and fun on just about any topic you can imagine that would to appeal to children — jokes, poetry, animal books, history, travel, or crafts. Each Branch has books to help parents and teachers. (Teachers can get an "E" card to check out materials for use in their city classroom.)

Don't forget to check out music cassettes and CDs, children's videos, books on tape (with or without a book to read-along with) and CD-ROMs for use on a home computer.

Book Boxes are available at selected Branches. These theme kits are great teaching aids with books, puzzles, and toys to make learning fun. And don’t forget to take a look at the music cassettes and CDs, children’s videos, books on tape (with or without a read-along book), and CD-ROMs for use on a home computer.

Speaking of fun toys can be checked out too. Purchased with a generous grant from the Danforth Foundation, the puzzles, games, dollhouses, road rugs, blocks, and trucks stimulate the imagination and teach through play. Toys can be checked out for classroom use or just to make staying home more fun.

While you're exploring all the great stuff for kids, be sure to look into the numerous programs that are offered. The Youth Services staff presents popular craft and story times for every age group year round.

To be well-rounded, kids in the twenty-first century need access to the latest in Information Technology. Children and teens come to the Library to use online encyclopedias and reference materials, word processing, play computer games and surf the Internet. (Please note that until age 18, parental permission is required to use the Internet.)

The Library uses grant funding to study ways to improve services for older kids and teens and also to hire Homework Helpers to make sure that during its busiest after- school hours kids get the individual attention they need.

The St. Louis Public Library is always looking for ways to serve children of all ages better. If you have a program that you’d like to suggest, talk with the Youth Services staff at your neighborhood Branch or call Patty Carleton at 539-0380. (And remember,it’s never too soon to get your child a Library card!)