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The Monroe County Library System offers endless opportunities for indoor (and outdoor) play including free library programs for all ages and children's rooms for independent imaginary play! Below you will find a list of all of Monroe County's Public Libraries.
The libraries are listed in order of our favorites when it comes to kid-friendliness (unique play area, creative reading incentives, welcoming environment, well-kept, ease of supervision, etc.)
Please keep in mind, this is just one perspective and opinion! All the libraries listed below have great qualities and features that make them unique. This particular list was created from the perspective of a mom with kids under the age of 4.
Click on the library for further information on why we love this library for young kids and a panoramic view of the children's area! Scroll to the bottom of the page for other gems that can be found at your local library.
What We Love: The Brighton Library has an entire room just for playing, plus an outdoor playground. The indoor playroom is complete with a craft station, iPads, dress up area, kitchen and much more. The room is staffed and often full of kids so that parents can sit and watch their children play with one another. The playroom is located in the back of the children's area of the library. The children's area is also vast and has an abundance of books and movies to choose from.
What We Love: The selection and variety of toys is amazing! Children are encouraged to stay and play and also have the option of checking out up to 10 toys. The toys can be returned to any Monroe County Library. Check out the available toys here.
What We Love: The Gates Library is another Library with an Early Learning Center. However, this center usually isn't as populated compared to the Brighton location. This Early Learning Center remains open when the library is open, unlike some centers that close throughout the day for events and story times. There is much to entertain a young child in this room from dress up, to chutes and marbles, to blocks, puzzles and much more. Outside of the Early Learning Center is an expansive children's area with duplo and puzzle stations.
What We Love: The newly renovated (July 2019) Henrietta Library has a spacious children's area that makes children's eyes widen as they enter! A large "tree" creates a small space for children to escape while the other kids play with duplos, Magtiles, and a kitchen set just outside. This library in particular has some great dress up clothes and a large bin of Potato Heads! The children's books are nicely organized by category and there is a children's size bathroom nearby! We also love that tablets and computers cannot be found in the main play as to not distract from active play!
What We Love: The Pittsford Library has lots of space for playing! The children's area even features an outdoor, fenced-in "play garden" complete with bubbles and musical instruments. Inside, there is a train table, puppet area, and kid-friendly stairs leading to a smaller children's area. There is a row of tablets nicely tucked away in the back as to not distract from the hands-on play! The children's programs are often very well attended. Also, the library is located right near the canal and is in the same building as Starbucks: Grab a cup of coffee, read a few books and go for a stroll along the canal!
What We Love: The children's section of the Fairport Library is colorful, spacious and welcoming. Toys and activities are scattered throughout the room allowing for children to continually discover something new. There are often fun and unique events for children that are offered at the Fairport library, however, they can sometimes be very busy.
What We Love: The Webster Library houses a large ELC. The Early Learning Center offers educational, hands-on activities to stimulate exploration and encourage lifelong learning in toddlers and preschoolers. This room has dress up clothes, a tool bench, kitchen area and much more! The room is vast so children can spread out and enjoy independent play. Since the ELC room is only open at certain times, there is still plenty to do within the children's library including blocks and a train table. The Webster Library also has a Seed Library!
Notes: The ELC Room is only open at certain times. Tuesdays: 11:00-8:00 Wednesdays: 11:00-8:00 (Closed 12:30-1:30 during story time) Thursdays: 11:00-4:30 Fridays: 11:00-4:30
What We Love: The Irondequoit library has a nice variety of unique toys. They have an extensive selection of movies and books and a fun walk-in activity room where kids gather around a table and work on an activity such as legos, crafts, etc. The Irondequoit library is active on social media and is constantly offering fun programs to families. A favorite is the Maker's Lab , which offers many opportunities to create. More details on that here.
What We Love: The Brockport-Seymour library has a unique Fairytale corner within its children's section, complete with castle! This library also offers some great resources including an extensive selection of early literacy and homeschool kits. There is one children's computer and ipads available to play on, but they are not made the center of attention. Instead, the kitchen, train table, fairytale area and puppet theater are sure to catch children's attention.
What We Love: The Ogden library is one of the few libraries with a reading garden. This seasonal, fenced in area allows children to read while enjoying some fresh area. The library even offers "sit-upons" to sit on with a good book while outside. The environment as a whole is very inviting to young children.
What We Love: The children's section of the Rush Library is sophisticated, organized, well-maintained and encourages imaginative play. A favorite is the restaurant set-up that includes a kid-sized table, a waiter's notepad and pencil, and various pretend foods and condiments. A fish tank (with steps for the little ones to get a good look), vintage sit-in race car, large checkerboard, and "Art Cart" can also be found at this library.
What We Love: This is a cozy little library located within a cozy little town. Located within the Donnelly House, the children's area of the library feels as if you are entering a playroom within the home of a friend. The room is very comforting and inviting and exhibits a wide range of unique toys and stuffed animals. The staff is extremely personable and friendly and go out of their way to ensure the kids enjoy themselves and get the most out of the visit.
What We Love: The entire lower level of the Monroe Branch Library is dedicated to the children's area. Not only does this library have a wide selection of books and kits to check out for kids, but there is also a nice sized play area for kids to enjoy during their visit. The majority of the play area is nicely tucked away in the back so parents won't lose children behind shelves of books! The staff is always friendly and helpful and the large giraffe statue offers a fun and unique game of I spy!
What We Love: There is much to explore at the Central Library. The children's area can be found on the second floor of the Bausch and Lomb Library Building (across the street from the main building). This area is extensive and nicely divided by age groups. The preschool area features bins of toys and climbing mats.
*Park in the nearest parking garage and get your ticket validated at the Library's circulation desk.*
What We Love: The Mendon Library is located in the heart of Honeoye Falls. It is conveniently located directly across from a beautiful playground and is within walking distance to the falls and local restaurants. Within the recently expanded (summer 2019) children's area, you may hear peaceful classical music playing. A kid-sized shopping cart and "grocery store", wooden car, train set and a large bin of dinosaurs can also be found in the children's area. The library itself is very quaint and comfortable. The toys are mostly wooden and encourage imaginative play.
What We Love: The East Rochester Library is small which means more intimate children's programs and a breeze in keeping track of your children! Although small, the children's section still has a wealth of toys including dress up costumes and many puppets. This library does not have ipads which can be a perk when the objective is to get away from the screens to play together and read!
What We Love: The Winton Branch has a large open Children's area. The open space makes it easy to supervise and browse. The play area has a castle-style dollhouse, kitchen, and a shelf full of labeled toy bins. This library is also one of the few with a train table where the train tracks aren't permanently attached!
What We Love: If your child loves trains, this library is for you! The library features everything from an elaborate pre-built train track, a train lamp, many train images scattered throughout the library and another train track for younger kids. There is also a kitchen area and a couch for parents!
What We Love: For the aquatics lovers, the library has a large fish tank and is in close proximity to Greece Town Hall playground which is "Outdoor Adventure" themed and showcases larger than life fish and other structures to climb on! Inside the library is a nice sitting area within the children's section and a fun light table. For you crafty mamas, this library has several Cricut machines available for use.
What We Love: The climbing equipment is definitely a favorite of the Parma Library. The library also offers comfy reading mats, activite social media and many children's programs. There are plenty of ipads to go around and a shelf full of a variety of toys.
What We Love: Within the children's section of the library, there are "stations" of activities for kids to rotate amongst along with a large wooden doll house and fish tank. During the summer, the library has water table play and other tables filled with sensory activities every Friday afternoon.
What We Love: The small children's area lends to an environment where the toys and games are well stored and organized. The minimalist style allows kids to focus on one activity at a time without getting overstimulated or overwhelmed! Toys are stored in bins and pouches. The gameboard selection is unique and entertaining for all ages. Outside the library are wonderful paintings drawing from Rochester's rich history.
What We Love: What the Barnard Crossing Library lacks in size, it makes up for in quality activities. For example. ths branch showcases a "make and take" bin with a rotating craft to take home to make. There is also a bin of stuffed animals labeled as "reading buddies" where kids are encouraged to grab a buddy and a book and read together. Many of the children's book are categorized and marked with a picture so kids can independently find books that meet their interests. The two children's computers have fun and educational games that can be easily operated by small children. Best of all, the staff is very personable and friendly. This may not be a library we would go out of our way for, but it is definitely one we would stop in at while in the area.
What We Love: The Lyell Branch Library is kind enough to display a "Help Yourself" shelf which often features leftover goodies and supplies from previous programs. On this shelf you will find workbooks, picture books, take home crafts and more that are free to children.
What We Love: The only library with a fort! The child-size house is definitely the highlight of this library. The large open space makes it easy to sit back and supervise your child. There is also a large doll house and a world map with velcro landmarks and animals.
What We Love: The Newman Riga Library is full of resources for your budding reader. The children's section of the library has a well stocked display of brochures from "walking tips" to "easy chapter books." The library seems to have a good handle on the importance of social-emotional skills and showcases many books in that genre. Though this library does not have ipads for use in the children's area (which is often a perk) it does offer 1 week loans on playaway launchpads, which are secure, preloaded interactive learning tablets with an Early Literacy Focus. During your visit, kids can also enjoy magnatiles, as well as a plethora of puzzles and stuffed animals.
What We Love: The story path outside of the Phillis Wheatley Community library is unique and fun. The story starts in the parking lot behind the library and trails up a colorful path as you approach the library doors. Once inside, you will find a children's area in the back right corner. This area has a few bins of miscellaneous toys and a toy kitchen with plenty of plastic food and a shopping cart! What I really love about this location are the signs above the computers that read "Read 20 minutes before going on Computer." I might just implement that rule in my home!
What We Love: The Hamlin library is the place to visit on a beautiful sunny day. A fun wooden playground can be found right in the back (more details here) and its not too far from Hamlin Beach State Park! Within the library you can check out Discovery bins, which are large themed totes full of educational opportunities. Also within the children's section, many of the books are sorted by pictures, allowing for easy browsing for little ones. Speaking of which, kids can grab their own Tote Bags to fill with the books of their choosing!
What We Love: The Arnett Library beautifully showcases the work of local artists, featured outside and in the children's area. Also inside the children's area, magformers and stuffed animals with children sized tables!
What We Love: The Scottsville Library is chalk full of history and has a lot to offer in that area, including the Cox Local History Room. The children's area is nicely separated from the rest of the library, though the room (and the library as a whole) is small. With that said, much is squeezed into this room including plenty of quality books, puppets, puzzles and Magtiles.
What We Love: The Sully Branch Library is located within the Thomas P Ryan Recreation Center which adds to the appeal of this location. Within the library itself there are a few toys and computers for children. However, right nearby you can find two playgrounds and a basketball court. The recreation center also offer a summer breakfast and lunch program and the Kids Cafe Dinner program during the school year. Local children can come to the center to get their homework done in the library and eat dinner after!
What We Love: The Maplewood library is the library to go to if your objective is to read books with your child, without the distraction of toys. For younger children, this branch has a decent selection of books (including books on tape), but not much else. The Maplewood library seems better suited for older school-aged children. There is a large computer section devoted to teens making this a popular spot for kids to gather after school.
OTHER LIBRARY GEMS
Our libraries offer much more than just books and movies! Here's a few other of our favorite services and resources offered by many local libraries. Click the title for more information regarding the specified resource.
VIP Pass Program The Very Important Places (V.I.P.) pass provides a variety of discounts to some of Monroe County’s arts and cultural attractions. A pass can be checked out with a valid MCLS library card to receive discounted admissions or ticket purchases (often BOGO deals) on places like the Genesee Country Village & Museum, Rochester museum and Science Center, and much more! Check out the list and participating libraries here.
Empire Passes For State Parks The Monroe County Library System offers Empire Passes for New York State Parks, which allows users to borrow free admission passes to hundreds of New York State Parks including Letchworth and Hamlin Beach. Click here for a list of participating libraries.
Ipads and Launchpads Tablets are available for check out at many Monroe County Library Branches. Type in "Ipad" or "Launchpad" in the catalog search box and filter by "electronic resources" to see what branches have them available!
Dremel tool & Soldering Iron Available at the Irondequoit Library Maker's Lab. Call 336-6060 to make an appointment. All users of the Maker’s Lab must complete an in-person “certification” training before using any of the tools.
Sewing and Embroidery machines Available at the Irondequoit Library Maker's Lab. Call 336-6060 to make an appointment. All users of the Maker’s Lab must complete an in-person “certification” training before using any of the tools.
Cricut Machine Free to use with trainings at Greece Public Library. Must provide own materials.
Seed Library At the Webster branch, you can start a garden from the seed library and learn more about seed saving and sharing!
Overdrive/Libby Libby (app) & Overdrive (desktop) allows you to borrow and download audiobooks and ebooks right to your computer or phone! All you need is a library card.
Mobile Print Services Some libraries offer the option to use your personal computer or mobile device to print to the library’s printers from anywhere.
MCLS Kidlit This page is maintained by children's librarians from the Monroe County Library System and provides caregivers with frequent quality book suggestions.
Outreach Services Outreach services brings the library experience and resources to patrons that can't make it to their local library.