New sensory garden at Maze Branch brings fall fun for kids with special needs

Sensory Garden Launch

October is National Disability Awareness Month. All month, families and kids with special needs can find fun at the library, with programs featuring stories, songs, and movement, plus tools and supports to help all children be successful. The fun includes yoga, spooky stories, and exploration of our just-launched sensory garden at Maze Branch. Accessible and … Read more

Tools for talking about race with kids

Book Covers: Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel, So You Want To Talk About Race By Ijeoma Oluo, Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children by Jennifer Harvey, Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes, Skin Again by Bell Hooks, We Came to America by Faith Ringgold

Last year, the founder of local Facebook group Raising Race Conscious Kids in and around Oak Park reached out to us. Although she had been raised to be “color-blind,” Andrea Kovach wrote, she is raising her 3- and 6-year-olds differently because “research has shown that instead of dismantling structural racism, that way of parenting just … Read more

Pride in being yourself

Ask Me About My Pronouns

Earlier this year, Library Assistant Hal Patnott (pictured above) saw an opportunity to spark conversations about gender identity with families in the Main Library Children’s Services department. As a transgender man who’s often mislabeled as “she,” Patnott said, “it gets exhausting after a while.” So he put up a sign at the service desk: “Ask … Read more

Diversity, inclusion & equity in storytime

Raising a brave generation: embracerace.org

Early childhood literacy includes preparing our community’s babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive “ready to learn” come kindergarten. As part of her intentional work to ensure diversity, inclusion, and equity in all storytimes, Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris recently shared a resource she’s found impactful in her everyday storytime work and when auditing Oak Park’s early childhood … Read more

Help strengthen your child’s ‘mind muscle’

Strengthening Your Child's Mind Muscle

Earlier this year, the Collaboration for Early Childhood circulated a community survey targeted at parents with kids ages 0–5, aiming to gather input on the resources and activities parents would like to see in our community. Through survey results shared with the library, we learned that local families want more resources and support for managing … Read more

Five ways we support lifelong learning from birth

Mom and baby reading

When it comes to learning, there is no such thing as starting too early. Research tells us how important it is to introduce literacy concepts to children in their first years of life, even as newborns. It’s why we strategically support parents, caregivers, teachers, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers—with library-based resources and expertise as well as … Read more

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