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
Preschool Storytimes (ages 3-5): Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. Children ages 3 and up listen to stories, sing, and participate in a range of activities planned just for them.
Wee Read (babies and toddlers): Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Songs, rhymes, and books are perfect for the littlest learners. Zoom version (pre-registration required) is offered at 10 a.m. as well.
Family Storytimes: Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Come to the Library 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.
Other events may be offered — check the Coralville Library’s website and social media for updates. Take and make craft kits are available beginning the second Wednesday of each month at the Children’s Desk while supplies last. The Summer Reading Challenge, where kids can log reading to earn fun prizes, is going on now. Also check out Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that mails a free, high-quality book to residents of Coralville under age 5 every month. You can sign up at the library!
Book Babies: Fridays at 1 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. It is located in the Library Storytime Room.
Stories in the Park: Mondays at Willow Creek Park, Tuesdays on the Ped Mall, Wednesdays at Wetherby Park, and Fridays at Mercer Park, all at 10:30 a.m. This interactive storytime based on early literacy principles for all ages and stages combines books, rhymes, songs, and movement.
Thursday Specials: Children’s performers at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (same performance in the morning and in the afternoon, each one hour long) in Meeting Room A at the Library. Performances range from live animal shows to circus acts to storytellers to musicians.
Family Storytime: Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. in the Library Storytime Room.
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 1-4 p.m. Drop-in craft program for all ages.
Let’s Play Monday: Mondays from 1-2 p.m. during summer in Meeting Room A at the Library. We’ll play bingo, yoga, life-size games, Let’s Dance . . .something for everyone! For elementary-age kids.
How-To Tuesday: Tuesdays from 1-2 p.m. during summer in Meeting Room A at the Library. Learn the basics of ballet, karate, embroidery, painting, and more! A different skill will be introduced each week so kids can dabble. For elementary-age kids.
World Wednesday: Wednesdays from 1-2 p.m. during summer in Meeting Room A at the Library. Explore world cultures, including making Brazilian street food, trying tai chi, African drumming, and more. For elementary-age kids.
Totally Tweens: programs for kids just in 3rd-6th grade on Thursday afternoons from 4-5 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Library. Tween programs can involve science and technology, arts and crafts, games, performers, and more.
Friday Flicks: Fridays from 1-3 p.m. during summer in Meeting Room A at the Library. Beat the heat with a family-friendly film screening!
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.
The Summer Reading Program is going on now; sign up at the library and earn cool prizes by tracking your reading. This is for infants through adults! ICPL also has a new Adventure Pass program where Iowa City residents can get free printable passes to several Iowa attractions, including the Blank Park Zoo, Science Center, Figge Art Museum, and more.
Baby Story Time (Birth-24 months): Tuesday mornings, 10:30 a.m. A combination of stories, rhymes, and movement.
Preschool Storytime (3-5): 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.
Saturday Story Time: Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. 3-4 songs and stories for the family!
The ages listed are just suggestions — try them all and find the best fit for your family! All storytimes are outdoors on the Ranshaw House Lawn unless the weather is inclement.
Super Tuesdays: Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. at the Ranshaw House Lawn for elementary-age children. In conjunction with the free summer lunch program, play outdoor games and make crafts.
Tweendom: Wednesdays, 1 p.m. in the Library Meeting Room ABCD for 4th-6th graders. Try something new each week: paracord crafts, adulting skills, cupcake decorating, galaxy slime, and more!
Other special events for kids and families are regularly offered (a tween lock-in! A cat cafe! A performance from Martika, the One-Woman Circus Act!); check the full slate of library programs online. Also, sign up for the Summer Reading Program, and North Liberty residents are eligible for the Adventure Pass through the NLPL.
All ages 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. Take an activity bag to go afterward!
Songs on the Lawn: Mondays at 10:30 a.m. during June and July (no program on July 4). Gather on the Library porch with us for singing, rhymes, and parachute games! The whole family is welcome.
Summer Reading Program is going on now, with an array of evening family programs all summer, including trivia night, the ISU Insect Zoo, Solon Fire Department, campfire stories, fly tying, live raptors, and more! See the full schedule on the website. Solon Public Library also has Lego boxes available for checkout. Your family can complete the monthly build challenge and have your creation displayed at the library!
Also, a BAM POW activity bag to go will be available every Thursday for K-4th graders while supplies last.
Toddler Time (ages 0-3) is every Thursday at 10 a.m., and Storytime (ages 3 and up) is every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Join for stories, music, and fun!
Also, check out Craft Day every Tuesday at 1:30 for tie-dye, I Spy bottles, garden stones, and more; and Game Day every Friday at 1:30 for water games, Lego build challenges, escape room, s’mores bar, and more.
You can also participate in the Summer Reading Program to earn prizes, and check out the schedule of family night special events during summer as well!
Family Story Time: Tuesdays, 6:45 p.m.
Story Time: Fridays, 10:15 a.m.
Thursday Theater: Thursdays at 1:30 during summer, watch a kids’ movie at the library.
A monthly Family Night is also offered — Fonziba Drums and a butterfly encounter are planned in July and August!
Family Storytime: Tuesdays at 11:15 a.m. The program consists of stories, games, and crafts.
Wednesday Afternoon Summer Activities: Wednesdays, usually beginning at 2 p.m., special activities for school-aged children are offered, including a Pop Art workshop, Frisbee decorating followed by group disc golf, fairy gardens, scratch art, and more. Other one-off activities for kids and families will also be held over the summer, and you can participate in the Summer Reading Program. 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. The collection is completely barrier-free (no fines or fees).
Check the Antelope website for the summer schedule. Home delivery is also available. Antelope also offers birthday parties!
What’s your favorite activity that your local library offers?