Children’s Services

Our Children's Area

Story Times | Monthly Programs | Special Events | Resources
Calendar of Events


1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a new Library program that encourages all Rochester area families and caregivers to read 1,000 books with their young children before they enter kindergarten. Studies have shown that families who start reading aloud to their children at birth help to strengthen their language skills and build their vocabulary. Each child will receive a reading log for tracking books, or you can download the app to track your reading. For more information, visit

When you reach 50 books, bring in your reading log, and get a small prize! At each 100-books mark, you get a “100 books!” sticker and prize. Upon completion your child’s name goes on the 1,000 Books Wall of Fame!

Story Times

Toddler Time | Mondays 10:00a.m. – 10:20a.m.

Toddler Time is for kids aged 19-35 months, with an adult. Siblings are welcome. This energetic story-time is just right for your tot. No registration required. Drop-ins welcome!

Toddler Time and Lapsit Dates
December 5th, 12th, 19th
January 2nd, 9th, 23rd, 30th
February 6th, 13th, 17th

Lapsit | Mondays 10:30a.m. – 10:50a.m.

Lapsit story-time is for kids aged 0 to 18 months. Join us for songs, simple stories, movements, and play. No registration required. Drop-ins welcome!

Morning Story-time | Wednesdays 10:30 a.m.- 11:15a.m.

Morning story-time is for ages 2-5 years old. We’ll have fun reading stories, singing songs, and making crafts. No registration required. Drop-ins welcome!


7th-“Dogs”, 14th-“Pancakes”, 21st-“Christmas”

4th-“Balloons”, 11th-“Chameleons”, 18th-“Whales”, 25th-“Snow”

February 1st-“Trucks”, 8th-“Valentine’s Day”, 15th-“Yarn”, 22nd-“Owls”

Evening Story-time | NEW DATE! Mondays 6:30p.m.- 7:15 p.m.

Evening story-time is for ages 2-5 years old. We’ll have fun reading stories, singing songs, and making crafts. No registration required. Drop-ins welcome!


December 5th-“Dogs”, 12th-“Pancakes”, 19th- “Christmas”

2nd-“Balloons”, 9th-“Chameleons”, 23rd-“Snow”, 30th-“Trucks”

6th-“Valentine’s Day”, 13th-“Yarn”, 27th-“Owls”

Monthly Programs

Chess Club | 1st Monday of the Month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
September 12th, October 3rd, November 7th
Looking for a place to meet other chess players?  Want to learn the basics?  The library will host a Chess Club for players aged 6-12 years old.  Bring your own chess set or use the library’s set.  No registration required. Drop-ins welcome!

Pokemon Players | 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the Month from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Sep. 6th & 20th, Oct. 4th & 18th, Nov. 1st & 15th
Do you know anyone who likes to play Pokémon? Kids are invited to come to the library with their friends, bring Pokémon cards, play with other kids, trade cards, and have fun! No registration required. Drop -ins welcome! If you play Pokémon Go, remember that the Library is a gym–and we have free Wi-Fi! Feel free to drop in, catch some Pokémon, do battle, and chat with other Pokémon enthusiasts!

Special Events

Cops for Kids | Saturday, October 8th and November 12th at 10:00 a.m.
The Rochester Public Library and the Rochester Police Department are teaming up to help the children of Rochester get a great start on their lifelong journey as readers! Stories and activities will be geared at children 2nd grade and younger. We’ll listen to officers read stories aloud, make a fun craft to take home, and shake hands with your local law enforcement officer. ALL AGES will be welcome. Registration is Preferred, but drop-ins welcome!

Register Now

An Apple a Day | Monday, September 19th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
This family story and craft program will focus on that delightful and versatile fruit and fall staple: the apple. We will read stories about apples, make apple crafts to take home, and learn about American folk hero Johnny Appleseed. No registration required.

Hey There, Pumpkin | Saturday, October 22nd from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
When you think about fall, you can’t help but think about pumpkins! For this fun family program, we’ll read pumpkin stories, make pumpkin crafts, and learn some cool pumpkin facts. Registration required.

Halloween Party | Friday, October 28th from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Trick or Treat! Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume and come to the Library to get some snacks, make crafts, and play Halloween inspired games!

Harry Potter Trivia Night | Friday, November 4th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Do you know the difference between a Muggle and a Squib? Are the Weasley twins your role models? Do you know without a shadow of a doubt which Hogwarts house you would be sorted into? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Harry Potter trivia night is for you! There will be questions for all ages, so grab your friends and family, bring your favorite snacks (Pumpkin Pasties, anyone?), dress up as your favorite character, and brush up on your Harry Potter knowledge! Seating is limited, so please reserve your table ahead of time (up to 8 people per team). Registration required.

Family Reading Night: Monkey See, Monkey Do| Thursday, November 17th @ 6:30 p.m.
The Madcap Puppets will be performing Monkey See, Monkey Do at the Rochester Elementary EC- 1 Gym for Family Reading Night. There’s no business like monkey business! Max and Vinnie are expert zookeepers, but keeping the rascally monkeys from getting into trouble is easier said than done. When Mr. Cleaver, the zoo manager, decides to send one of the monkeys to another zoo, it’s time for their great escape! Go with the monkeys as they explore new exhibits at the zoo, each one a backdrop for exciting stories from around the world!

Autism-Friendly Movie| Saturday, November 5th at 1:00 p.m.
The library will be hosting a movie specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. Everyone is invited, but please be aware that this will not be your typical movie-viewing experience. The lights will be on and the sound will be turned down and children will be free to move around as necessary. Parents of children with ASD—we would appreciate your input on what will work best for your children and what movie you would most like to see: The Lego Movie, Finding Nemo, or Monsters, Inc. Please help us out by providing feedback at

Technology/STEM Programs
Pre-Registration Required for All Technology Programs

Register Now

Marshmallow Engineering | Tuesday, September 27th from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
For 6 to 12-year-olds. Join us for an engineering challenge involving only two building materials: marshmallows and toothpicks. Choose between building a bridge or a tower and let your creativity fly! Prizes will be awarded for the best entry in each category and you will be able to take your magnificent creation home with you after the program.

3D Printer Class | Tuesday, October 25th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
For ages 7 and up. Families are welcome to check out the Library’s 3D Printer. We’ll learn the basic principles and applications of 3D Printing, and how you can create your own designs.

Tinker Time | Tuesday, November 29th from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
For 8 to 12-year-olds. During this exciting program, we will experiment with a lemon clock kit and various substances to see which ones make the clock “tick”! We will also set aside time to play with a Makey Makey, applying the rules of simple circuits to play music using a laptop and everyday objects. Limit of 20 participants.


The Lexile Framework for Reading: A Lexile measure is a valuable piece of information about either an individual’s reading ability or the difficulty of a text, like a book or magazine article. Click to get your Lexile Measure!

ExceleRate Illinois: Provides information on Early Literacy programs throughout the State of Illinois

Children’s E-books

Storyline Online

We Give Books

Award-winning Book Lists

American Library Association List of Awards

Abe Lincoln Award (Updated for 2016)

Bluestem Award List (Updated for 2016)

Caldecott Award List

New York Times Bestsellers List: Children’s Picture Books | Middle Grades | Childrens’ Series

Newbery Award List

Monarch Award List (Updated for 2016)

Rebecca Caudill List (Updated for 2016)