Families | School & Camp Groups

Planning Your Visit: Families

Library cards:

You do not need a library card to attend a library program, make a craft, participate in the Summer Reading Club, look for books or articles in the online catalog, or just to stop by and read for a while. You do need a library card to use an internet computer or to check out an item. If you forget your card but have your picture ID, Circulation staff can look up your number (or your child’s number) for you.

If you have a card from another C/WMARS library (most cities and towns in Western Massachusetts belong to this group), your card will work in Springfield too. If you are visiting from another town, you can borrow our items and return them to your home library.

If you don’t have a library card at all, but would like to sign up for one, bring a picture ID with your current address. Click here for more information about obtaining library cards.

Not sure of the status of your library card? Haven’t been here since you were a kid? Stop by any Circulation Desk with your library card or your photo ID for assistance.

Parking:

Check your neighborhood branch page for information about parking.

Borrowing:

We have a lot of fantastic books, puppets, music, and movies. Visitors can have up to 50 items on their library card at one time. Plan ahead! Pack along an empty canvas bag to carry your treasures! Walking or taking the bus? Consider an empty backpack!

The Children’s collections housed in each branch of the Springfield City Library are geared for babies through age twelve, as well as their parents and caregivers. People of all ages are welcome to use the children’s collections, but use of the children’s spaces is reserved for children with their parents or caregivers. (Children age 8 and up may use the library on their own.)

From board books for babies to books on the Civil Rights movement for fifth grade homework assignments, our collections have something for every kid. In each children’s collection you can expect to find:

  • Board books: These have thick, sturdy pages that your baby or toddler can turn themselves. Picture books: These illustrated books feature stories that are generally geared towards children birth through age 8, though there are picture books geared toward older children as well. Classic examples include Tikki Tikki Tembo and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Early readers: For children who are just learning to read! Ranging from just a short sentence on a page to a few very short chapters, these books help your child get comfortable as a reader.
  • Chapter books: From Junie B. Jones to Percy Jackson, these are the books that kids spend the majority of their childhoods reading. Some titles are available in Large Type editions.
  • Graphic Novels: Essentially comic book novels, kids love delving into these series.
  • Nonfiction: From outer space to dinosaurs, dolphins to the human body, grammar to sports, poetry to history, this collection attempts to answer the questions posed by every kid—and teacher!
  • Audiobooks: Would you rather listen to a favorite story? Some titles are available in audio. Picture books and audio CDs are borrowed as a set; the audiobook version of chapter books is available just as adult audiobooks are, though the book can also be obtained for readers who like to follow along.
  • Magazines: From Highlights to Sports Illustrated for Kids, children’s magazines are here!
  • Music: Child-friendly tunes on child-friendly themes!
  • Puppets: Ever wished to have a three-headed dragon visit your home? You can! Low-maintenance and completely returnable.
  • DVDs: Movies with a G/PG rating that are of most interest to children are found here.
  • Video Games: Games for Xbox, Wii, and Playstation are available through some libraries, including the Springfield Central Library and the Sixteen Acres branch.
  • Early Childhood Resource Center: Central Library only, though all items are available to patrons anywhere in Western Massachusetts via interlibrary loan. Click here for more information. Is the item you need at a different branch library? No problem! We can use interlibrary loan to have it sent to the library closest to you.

Programming:

Click here to see our children’s programming schedule.

Other things to do:

Besides plenty of books for browsing, you will find puzzles, drawing paper, toys and games, drawing paper, a puppet theater, and very often a craft project to complete. Each branch has a different flavor, so try them all and see which ones best suit your family’s needs.

Food:

No food or drink is permitted in the library, unless provided as part of a program. If you are visiting the Central Library, the Blake House Café located on the Quadrangle includes child-friendly meals.

Behavior:

Although libraries are no longer silent places, once they are no longer infants or toddlers, children are expected to use quiet voices and to walk from place to place so as not to disturb other patrons.

Note: Babies cry. Toddlers lose control. This is not a problem!

Direct and constant adult supervision is expected for children under the age of 8. Children ages 8 and older may use the library by themselves, at their guardian’s discretion.

Please finish phone calls before entering the library.

Planning Your Visit: School and Camp groups

Appointments:

Please call the branch directly to set up an appointment for your group to visit. Visits could include a tour of the Children’s area, time to browse for and borrow books, time to do research, a read-aloud, and a craft project.

Library Cards:

To register the kids in your group for library cards, obtain a “student/group library card” application from the branch you plan to visit. (Ask the librarian you arrange your visit with to help you with this.) Copy as many applications as you need and distribute them to the children in your care. The parent or guardian must fill the form out neatly and completely and return it to you. The teacher or counselor should review the applications before returning them the library. Library cards are then processed and mailed directly to the child’s home. This can take up to three weeks, so please plan accordingly!

Before you arrive:

Decide what your children will be allowed to do during your visit. Review the number of computers at the branch you will visit. Are you going to let your kids use the computers if they are available? If you are not, talk to them about your expectations ahead of time. If you are, please plan a strategy for turn-taking!

  • Checking out books? How many are they going to be allowed to take when they are with you? Are you going to let them check out DVDs or puppets, or just books? Any books? Or just books that meet the goals of your class?
  • Are they allowed to do puzzles or draw when they are done choosing books? Or do you expect them to be reading while they wait for other students to finish?
  • Do they need to bring a bag to carry their items?

Behavior:

Although libraries are no longer silent places, students are expected to speak quietly and to walk from place to place so as not to disturb other patrons.

It is expected that the teachers or counselors will break their children into small groups, each under the constant supervision of an adult. Chaperones are expected to participate in the activity their group is engaged in.