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The Best Children’s Library Programs in Southern California

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled “this could change your life.” – Helen Exley

Libraries are an intriquite part of our lives.  We visit the library for a variety of reasons; to do research, learn a foreign language online, study for a test or to enjoy the numerous free children’s programs that are offered throughout the year.

Our local public library has especially enriched my children’s lives through their weekly story times and special programs.  We have been going since they were practically born.

My son’s favorite time of year is when our library hosts their annual summer reading program.  He is such an avid reader that last year he participated in two separate programs and is already counting down to next summer!

Recently, I reached out to a group of friends on Facebook and asked them which libraries had the best children’s programs in Southern California.

These were their responses and a few of my own:

Los Angeles & The Surrounding Areas


LA Central Library. By Mquach (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

 Los Angeles Central Library

Check out their new STEAM = Science! Technology! Engineering! Art! Math! program.  

“When kids and teens explore, create and experiment in an informal learning environment like the library, they learn a lot – and have fun at the same time.  They’ve assembled a variety of free STEAM-related programs and workshops that will inspire and motivate kids and teens with fun, hands-on learning activities.”

Porter Ranch

Visit their Mother/Daughter 4th and 5th Grade Book Club on 4/10 at 7:00 pm.  Bring your moms and talk about books!  Call the library at 818-360-5706 in advance for titles.

Echo Park

Woodland Hills

Long Beach

Long Beach

Long Beach. By Christophe.Finot (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Long Beach Public Library

The Long Beach Public Library is celebrating National Library Month with the Grand Opening of the Library’s MakerSpace, “The Studio” on April 17.  There will be demonstrations of their 3D printer, tablets, and computers.

Orange County

Mission Viejo

Mission Viejo Public Library. By Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Mission Viejo Public Library

Check out their current “One Big Appy Family! Building Digital Literacy Skills Kids Related Content” event taking place on April 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Cen Campbell of and Carisa Kluver of will discuss “using technology to build relationships and improve reading readiness – at the same time! Parents with questions or concerns about screen time and using tablets or SmartPhones with their preschoolers are in luck, thanks to a new program designed to build digital literacy skills.  This fun and informative program includes expert recommendations for using screen technology with young children. Parents will learn how to incorporate digital technology as part of a healthy media diet and will receive recommendations for apps and eBooks that will entertain and educate their youngsters.”  For more information call the Youth Services Desk at 949-830-7100, ext. 5107.

Costa Mesa Public Library

Newport Beach Public Library

Rancho Santa Margarita Public Library

Riverside County

Boy Reading

By Tim Pierce (originally posted to Flickr as lost) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Riverside Public Library

Check out their “First Sundays” program every month between October – May from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. They feature stories, crafts and fun at the main library. For April, the children will create their own clay masterpieces and see a Special Balloon Magic show by Arty Loon. Don’t forget it is free too!

Riverside County Library

Temecula Public Library

Santa Barbara


Carpinteria State Beach. By Craig Taylor [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Carpinteria Branch Library

Come see Arctic Norwegian and Swedish Stories, Songs and Games on 4/10 at 10:30 am.  Artist Stina Fagertun performs unique stories and music from the peoples of her native northern Norway. Musician Ross Sutter, from Minnesota, is a multi-instrumentalist and singer of traditional music from many countries. Best for ages 4 and up!

Goleta Branch Library


San Diego

By Nserrano (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego Central Library

The San Diego Central Library offers group tours of 11+ and specialized tours including art tours, architectural tours and green building tours are available by appointment only. To schedule a group tour, to cancel a tour or for other tour questions please contact [email protected]

Mission Valley Branch Library

Carmel Mountain Ranch Branch Library

The North University Community Branch Library

Coronado Library

To learn more about National Library Month taking place April 13 – 19, please visit

And don’t forget to send your local librarian a note of thanks today!

Happy Reading,


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© Jilleen Butler and SoCal Field Trips, 2013 – Current. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jilleen Butler and SoCal Field Trips with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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