The Washington County Free Library and its Branches will be Closed on Monday, May 29th in observance of Memorial Day.  We will re-open at our regular time on Tuesday.

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Resources for Parents

Visit WCFL Children's on Social Media: Instagram


Material Selection:

The Children’s Department holds many entertaining and educational opportunities for your child. We provide a wide-range of materials in varying formats for children ages birth through thirteen to select and enjoy. These materials represent many view points, many varying tastes, and many ways of life. Therefore, we suggest you help your child with his or her selection choices. If you would like help finding materials for your child, please stop by the Children’s Reference Desk, and we would be happy to assist you in choosing materials.

You may wish to visit our Book Notes page for kid and librarian reading picks as well as librarian-generated book lists.

Internet Usage:

Homework Center computers are limited to children aged 13 or 8th grade and under. We allow one hour per day for a child to be on the computer. User must sign up at the Children’s desk. The librarian in charge may allow additional time on the computer if it is determined necessary for completion of a school assignment and no other children are waiting to do a school assignment.

We suggest parents assist their children on the Homework Center computers. Though our internet access is filtered in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, no internet filter is completely fail-safe. To ensure your child is viewing materials you deem appropriate, please accompany your child and/or talk to your child about personal internet guidelines. When your child logs on to our computers, they will be asked to accept our Internet Usage Policy (link). We request that you review this policy with your child.

You will find kid-safe internet links from the Children’s Department page

Printing from the Homework Center computers costs 25 cents for color per page and 15 cents for black and white per page.

You may find these links helpful when considering what you deem appropriate internet usage for your child:

  • Cyberbullying Research Center
    The Cyberbullying Research Center is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents.
  • Great Web Sites for Kids
    Great Web Sites for Kids brought to you by the American Library Association
  • NetSmartz
    The NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational safety resource from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for children aged 5 to 17, parents, guardians, educators, and law enforcement that uses age-appropriate, 3-D activities to teach children how to stay safer on the Internet.
  • Parent's Guide for Internet Safety
    A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety is a pamphlet published by the FBI.
  • SafeKids.com
    SafeKids.com is one of the oldest and most enduring sites for Internet safety.
  • Stopcyberbullying.org
    The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use provides research and outreach services to address issues of the safe and responsible use of the Internet.

Personal Safety:

We do our best to make the library a safe and welcoming place for you and your children. However, we cannot be responsible for your child’s safety while visiting the library, so we require children under age 7 to be accompanied by an adult in all parts of the library, including the Children’s Department. We also suggest children use “quiet voices” and refrain from running, rowdiness, or playing on our staircase while visiting the library.

You may find the following links helpful when talking to your children about personal safety in public places:

  • McGruff.org
    The National Crime Prevention Council’s mission is to be the nation's leader in helping people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime.
  • SafetyKids.org
    Safety Kids, Inc. strives to create safety awareness in children through non-fearful, age appropriate curriculum.
  • Protect your children
    This pamphlet is designed to help you talk to your children about how to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.
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Early Literacy:

It is never too early to start reading to your child. Early literacy isn’t about teaching your child to read at an early age; it is about exposure to the joys of literature from an early age. This early exposure will give your child a “step up” when it comes time for school and learning to read.

The best thing you can do for your child to foster early literacy is to make books fun. Make outings to the library a special time; set aside time for reading books throughout the day; read to your child before bedtime. Books shouldn’t be used as a punishment or a reward but rather as part of your everyday routine. Think of books as nutrition for the brain.

You may find these links helpful when considering ways you can help build your child’s early literacy:

  • WCFL Storytimes and Programs
    The Central Library and all of its branches offer a wide variety of storytimes and programs that will enhance your child’s early literacy. Read about Central Library’s programs and storytimes at the above link. Or visit our kid’s calendar for a list of upcoming regularly scheduled and special events throughout the county.
  • ZeroToThree.org
    Zero To Three is a national nonprofit, multidisciplinary organization that supports the healthy development and well-being of infants, toddlers and their families. We carry out that mission through a range of activities that inform, educate and support the adults who influence very young children’s lives.
  • PBS.org - The Whole Child
    The Whole Child website extends the information presented in the 13-part child development video series and telecourse of the same name. The telecourse was based on the popular textbook, The Whole Child, by Joanne Hendrick, Ph.D., published by Merrill/Prentice Hall.
  • Birth to Five Early Literacy Resources
    Baltimore County Public Library’s Birth to Five Early Literacy Resources provides an exhaustive set of book lists, developmental tips, guidelines for reading aloud to children, as well as print and online resources for parents and caregivers of young children. You may wish to visit their Parenting InfoCenter for even more resources.

Literacy in Grade School:

Once your child learns to read, you should continue to read to and with your child for fun. Grade school is often when children really begin to love books, so find ways to encourage the love of reading. Find a series you both love and it read together; ask your child to talk about what she or he is reading; join a book club. Most importantly, be a reader, too. Children’s whose parents read are more likely to read themselves.

You may find these links helpful when considering ways to help your child foster a love of reading:

  • WCFL Storytimes and Programs
    The Central Library and all of its branches offer a wide variety of storytimes and programs that will enhance your child’s literacy. Read about Central Library’s programs and storytimes at the above link. Or visit our kid’s calendar for a list of upcoming regularly scheduled and special events throughout the county.
  • Children's Book Council Foundation
    The Children’s Book Council Foundation, Every Child a Reader, is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that help promote the enjoyment and importance of reading among America's youth. Every Child a Reader seeks to harness the collective power of the children's book publishing industry to create a positive social impact in our communities.

Literacy Beyond Grade School:

When your child has become a proficient reader, you can still play a role in her or his reading life. Like many other aspects of life, your proficient reader will seek independence when in comes to reading. Encourage your child to talk with friends about favorite books; find out what is at the top of the Children’s Bestsellers list and check those books out of the library; reluctant readers should be encouraged to experiment with formats such as graphic novels or high-interest nonfiction. Some tweens and teens who as younger children were avid readers stop reading for pleasure as other leisure activities take up their time. As the genre of young adult literature grows, this trend in older readers not reading is fading. To help combat this trend with your older reader, make sure age-appropriate books are always available.

You may find these links helpful when considering ways to help your older reader find books and peer reading communities:

  • WCFL Teen Page
    Visit our teen page to find out about teen programs and events, along with teen recommended reads.
  • Nancy Pearl
    Librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl’s website geared toward children and teens. You’ll find parent recommended books, a list of “new” children’s classics, and information about Book Crush, Pearl’s book of booklists for kids and teens…or you can check the book at the library.
  • TeenReads.com
    Teenreads.com bring teens info and features about their favorite authors, books, series and characters. Teenreads.com is THE place online for teens to talk about their fave books --- and find the hippest new titles!