Grand Rapids Public Library – The Ultimate One-Stop-Shop for Your Whole Family

GRPL Indoor Craft

GRPL Isn’t Just for Novel Lovers – Find Exciting Events & Resources for Ages 0-101

When my oldest was only about a year old I started scheduling playdates with friends. Cabin fever was real and I needed something to do in Grand Rapids with my kid! Usually we headed to a local park, but one day a friend suggested that we meet at the library. 

“The library?” I thought. “No way my kid will be quiet or attentive enough for that.”

But my friend told me to trust her, and I’m so glad I did! 

Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) blew me out of the water with how much they had to offer, spanning far beyond books for adults and themed areas for kids.

With open access to everyone and free programs for all ages, there is something for everyone and all are truly welcome at GRPL.

GRPL Storytime at the park
Storytime at the park

Kid Events & Activities at GRPL

GRPL offers kids programs such as Storytimes and Ready, Set, Play!, with new programs popping up throughout the year.

Each branch has a welcoming area for kids, hands-on activities and of course, legions of amazing books, audio books and movies for their age group.

Here are five ways kids can experience Grand Rapids Public Library.

1 – Attend one of Their Storytimes Galore

Enjoy listening to stories and singing along with the librarian during Storytimes, which end in playtime for all!

Bring the baby and 3-year-old for Family Storytime or join a smaller group with your toddler for Toddler Time. Love themes? Deck the kids out in their favorite jammies and join a special nighttime story for Pajama Time.

Storytimes are a great way for families to connect and for parents to get some tips and access to early childhood resources, too.

GRPL indoor storytime

2 – Try the Ready, Set, Play! Program

Ready, Set, Play! is a program designed to allow elementary-aged kids to use the library alongside their parents.

Kids can enjoy games, activities, and sometimes snacks while parents check out a book or use the library computer. 

Unlike Storytimes, this program is come-and-go. Locations and times for this program are listed on the GRPL website.

3 – Sneak in Early Literacy Skills at GRPL, from Age 0

Every kids program is peppered with singing, reading, playing, counting, and showing love. 

These programs empower parents and caregivers by giving them a launching pad to their kids’ growth in early literacy skills.

Early literacy is simply what a child knows about reading and writing before they actually learn to read or write.

GRPL staff believe a child is never too young to start learning these skills – not even babies.

Betsy Zandstra, the Youth Services Librarian at GRPL says, “You don’t need to wait until your child is old enough to read to bring them to the library!”

GRPL staff are passionate about early literacy education.

All kids programs focus on developing these skills because a strong foundation in early literacy helps children succeed once they start school.

GRPL outdoor craft

4 – Enjoy Craft Kits, Grab & Go Activity Kits & More

Can’t make it to any of these programs? Drop by the library with your kiddo for playtime in their play area, or pick up a Storytime Kit to take home that includes a book you can keep.

In addition to Storytime Kits, you will also find Craft Kits, which are designed to engage your child’s vivid imagination and creative skills.

Look for these Grab & Go Activity Kits at your favorite branch and bring home some library magic.

Grab & Go Kits

5 – Receive Sensory Support if You Need It

Libraries are some of the most inclusive places on the planet. They see everyone and make efforts to remove barriers for all people. This includes those on the spectrum who may have sensory needs.

GRPL offers Sensory Tool Kits and a Story Guide for those who prefer extra support before entering a new environment. 

Grand Rapids Public Library Sensory Tool Kit
GRPL’s Sensory Tool Kit

Check out GRPL’s Adult Benefits

GRPL staff knows that everyone who walks through the door has different needs, so they offer a wide variety of programs for adults as well.

Free Events Help You Find & Build Community

Looking to get out of the house and connect with your community? 

Throughout the year GRPL offers free and low-cost events like Movies on the Lawn, craft classes, and Author Talks that just may spark a new friendship. (And are a great opportunity to attend with friends.)

Be sure to check their website often to see what new events are in store for you.

GRPL Movies on the Lawn
Movies on the Lawn

Tech Support & Business and Career Librarian

For those looking for help with computers, GRPL offers intro to computer classes as well as one-on-one tech appointments to build computer proficiency. 

Did you know GRPL has a Business and Career Librarian?

Maybe you’re thinking of starting your own business, or are hoping to get help building your resumé and cover letter.

If you’re not sure where to start, chat with the GRPL business librarian; their job is to offer you the support you need.

Check Out Parent and Caregiver Resources

It’s a challenging time to be raising pre-teens and teenagers. 

GRPL supports the parent who may be struggling to find ways to talk to their kids about current topics by offering books, databases, and other resources on a wide range of topics.

Grand Rapids Public Library two kids reading together

Grand Rapids Public Library Branches

No matter who you are, as a member of the community you have a place at GRPL.

Don’t let the many opportunities GRPL has to offer pass you by – stop in and experience this unique connection for yourself.

Access their vast catalogue today and make plans to stop at one of their many wonderful branches.

Main Library – 111 Library St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Madison Square – 1201 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Ottawa Hills 1150 Giddings Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Seymour – 2350 Eastern Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Van Belkum – 1563 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
West Leonard – 1017 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
West Side – 713 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Yankee Clipper – 2025 Leonard St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Grand Rapids Public Library logo

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