If you’re new to the area, I humbly suggest you locate the library first. Because once you’ve found the library, you have a gateway to everything else—not only books for the whole family, but also free WiFi; computer, printer, copier, and scanner access; digital items like DVDs, audiobooks, video games, research databases, and e-books; and entertaining and enriching programs for all ages.
What’s more, your local library is a great place to immediately put your finger on the pulse of the community. The free, high-quality programs offer an opportunity to meet other parents and kids. Librarians are eager to connect you with local resources and answer any questions you have about navigating your community. Check out this guide to find a storytime or kids’ program at an Iowa City area library near you, and plan a visit soon!
Guide to Library Storytimes In the Iowa City Area
Note: These programs are planned for fall (September onward) as of August 6, 2021, but are subject to change or cancel (sometimes last-minute) due to local COVID-19 infection rates and updated local and CDC guidance. Familiarize yourself with each library’s mask policy as well and be prepared to mask up at events if requested or required. Check on the website or call before heading over for a library storytime.
Virtual Wee Read (under 3s): Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. on Zoom. Registration required by contacting the library.
Preschool Storytimes (ages 3-5): Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. on the Library Lawn (or in Schwab Auditorium in case of inclement weather). Children ages 3 and up listen to stories, sing, and participate in a range of activities planned just for them.
Family Storytimes: Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Come to the Library Lawn (or Schwab Auditorium in case of inclement weather) prepared to have fun. These programs are planned with a broad range of ages in mind. Children and their families listen to stories, music, and poems and participate in various activities.
Storytimes will take place outside as late into fall as weather allows. Other events may be offered — check the Coralville Library’s website and social media for updates.
Book Babies: Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. This program is designed to foster early language development. Parents and caregivers can enjoy this time to play with baby and meet new friends. In Meeting Room A.
Storytime: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. This interactive storytime based on early literacy principles for all ages and stages combines books, rhymes, songs, and movement. New this fall, every Monday is a Spanish bilingual storytime; every Tuesday is a Chinese bilingual storytime. In Meeting Room A.
StoryJAM: Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. StoryJAM is a music storytime program for children and their families. Designed to develop singing and music making as an early literacy skill, come prepared to move, shake, and sing as we take “Joy in Action and Music.” In Meeting Room A.
Preschool Stories & More: Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Join us for a preschool-oriented program that often features special guests or includes longer stories. Preschool Stories & More is recommended for children who are 3,4, or 5 years old. In fall, programs will take place outside if weather allows and many have been planned off-site at special locations; check the calendar to learn more.
There is no registration for library storytimes — everyone is welcome. These programs last approximately 30 minutes unless otherwise noted. No stringent age guidelines — parents can decide which storytime is right for their child.
Sunday Fun Day: Sundays from 2-4 p.m. Drop-in craft program for all ages. “To-go” craft bags will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
After School Minecraft: 2nd Thursday of each month for school-age kids, 3-4:30 p.m. Registration required.
Totally Tweens: programs for kids just in 3rd-6th grade on Thursday afternoons. Tween programs can involve science and technology, arts and crafts, games, performers, and more. 1st Thursday of each month: a one-off special guest program that changes each month; 2nd Thursday: Minecraft; 3rd Thursday, Scientweens (a hands-on science program); 4th Thursday: Comics & Cookies (a graphic novel book club).
Bookmobile: The Bookmobile is a mobile library service from the Iowa City Public Library. In addition to a collection of new and popular books, DVDs, toys, and audiobooks on the Bookmobile, you can check out anything from ICPL’s collection by placing a hold and requesting pick-up at the Bookmobile. Check the schedule of stops online.
Baby Story Time (Birth-24 months): Tuesday mornings, 10:30 a.m. A combination of stories, rhymes, and movement.
Story Time (Pre-K): Wednesday mornings, 10:30 a.m. Stories, rhymes, and songs geared toward preschoolers.
Toddler Story Time (Ages 2-4): Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Stories, movement, and music.
For fall, all storytimes will be held outside as long as the weather allows; in case of inclement weather, they will be held indoors in the large meeting space.
Ages listed are just suggestions — try them all and find the best fit for your family!
Super Tuesdays: Tuesdays, for K-3rd graders. Time and location for fall TBD, check with the library.
Tweendom: Thursdays, for 4th-6th graders. Time and location for fall TBD, check with the library.
Monthly Activity Rotation for Super Tuesdays and Tweendom (All activities are come and go, no registration is required):
- Science Activity (1st Tuesday)
- Games (2nd Tuesday)
- Legos (3rd Tuesday)
- Crafternoons (4th Tuesday)
Other special events for kids and families are regularly offered; check the full slate of fall library programs online.
Virtual Story Time
Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
This is a program of stories, songs, rhymes, and fingerplays which provide opportunities for young children to develop listening and socialization skills, acquire a love of books and get ready to read, and spend quality time with their parents or caregivers.
Also, a BAM POW activity bag to go will be available every Thursday for K-4th graders starting in September.
Toddler Time (ages 0-4) is every Thursday at 10 a.m., and P.I.P (Pretty Important People) Storytime (ages K-3) is every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Join for stories, music, and fun!
Occasional special events may also be offered, such as crafts, games, or activities on no-school days.
Family Story Time: Tuesdays, 6:45pm
Story Time: Fridays, 10:15am
Toddler Story Time: Wednesdays at 10 a.m. It consists of stories, games, and crafts.
Early Out Wednesdays: Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., special activities for school-aged children each month, including Coding Club, book clubs, craft workshops, and more. Contact the library for more information.
Antelope Lending Library
Antelope Lending Library is an independent, award-winning bookmobile (mobile library service housed in a revamped bus) operating in the Iowa City area. Sensory Stops with activities and book checkout are offered for individuals with autism, along with an array of other open community stops during the week, some in outlying communities.
Check their website for the fall schedule.
Additionally, keep in mind for the future, that all of the area libraries offer a Summer Reading Program for children. Sign up at the library, receive program materials, and kids can start tracking their reading minutes while school is out and earn prizes for reaching a goal. Summer also means lots of additional kids programs and activities, too, so call or check back on each library’s website to find out what your library has planned for the summer!