Indoor Activities for Kids: Libraries and Bookstores
by Alyssa Grossman, 02/06/2013
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Instead of curling up at home with a good book, add a little excitement to your family's reading repertoire at bookstores and libraries across NYC. Find story sessions, author appearances and other events at these popular book dens.
Though renting a title or two from City libraries is a residents-only privilege, you can take advantage of great kids' events, regardless of where you hail from. NYC takes its libraries seriously both in form and function; in addition to hosting exciting activities, many double as mini museums with striking architecture, design elements and educational exhibitions. Brooklyn Public Library's central branch hosts performances, screenings, storytelling sessions and workshops for young visitors, just steps from Prospect Park. The Children's Library Discovery Center at the Queens Central Library packs hands-on exhibitions, science, math and technology programs and a high-tech map detailing the history of Queens into 14,000 square feet of space. The New York Public Library's Children's Center at 42nd Street maintains a packed schedule of readings, performances and author and illustrator meet-and-greets. This branch is also home to the original Winnie-the-Pooh characters: Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Tigger and Winnie himself. And the Bronx Library Center is the New York Public Library System's first LEED-certified branch. It's also the site of video-game sessions, art projects and movie screenings.
Bookstores, meanwhile, offer plenty of options for young ones as well. Bank Street Bookstore in Morningside Heights hosts a daily toddler story hour, while nearby Book Culture hosts story-time sessions in French, Spanish and English. The Flatiron District's Books of Wonder is a great place to catch a story on Sundays and Fridays. Find sing-alongs, book launches and author appearances at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, art activities at McNally Jackson and interactive readings at The Scholastic Store.
If you're Brooklyn-bound, don't miss Fort Greene's Greenlight Bookstore. This beloved neighborhood spot hosts a musical story session for babies and often schedules signings and readings with notable children's authors.
Be sure to check out our full guide to rainy-day family fun in NYC. Options include museums, theaters, tours, screenings, comedy clubs and fitness classes, just to name a few.