The Children's Book collections of Buncombe County Public Libraries contain materials appropriate for babies up to middle school children.
Board books and picture books are available for younger children, and "Easy-Readers" for children just beginning to read.
For school age children, we have non-fiction and fiction, including classic children's literature, popular paperbacks, and series.
All branches subscribe to at least two or three magazines for children. These are not available for checkout, but to be read inside the library. Back issues are available at Pack Memorial’s Children’s Department for students needing them for research. Call your library to determine availability. Some of the popular titles available are Cricket, National Geographic World, Sesame Street For Kids, and American Girl Magazine.
Reading skills and comprehension in children are developed and increased by simply reading to them. This same end can be accomplished through using books on tape. For beginning readers, "book cassettes" are especially helpful. These books come with a recorded version in audio cassette format. Selection ranges from very easy beginning level up to juvenile fiction, and language tapes. "Books on tape" are recorded readings of a book, either abridged or unabridged. The book from which the recording is made is usually available for check-out separately. "Music cassettes" for children include storytelling, short stories and fairytales; poetry and Mother Goose; traditional songs, classical music and soundtracks. Smaller selections of music and storytelling are available on compact disc. These collections are shelved by type. Children's videos can be checked out only by an adult, following video borrowing guidelines. They are kept with the general video collection.
Every branch has a core set of children's reference materials created for homework help addressing primarily the environment and science, history, geography, and world cultures. These are supplemental to the encyclopedias and reference materials that make up the adult reference section. Children's Specialists at each branch can offer instruction to students needing help searching for reference materials. For older elementary school students and young adults, the adult reference selection of materials may be most helpful.
Class visits or Tours
Each public library facility has differing amounts of seating space, staff, and materials. Teachers are strongly encouraged to discuss their needs in detail with staff at the library they intend to visit. The library requires advance notification and an appointment for classes of ten or more students. The library can provide a sign up form for class visits that will assist both the library and the teacher in identifying needs. Forty-five minutes is the normal time for class visits. Longer visits may be arranged only with the prior approval of the library staff. Students must have their own library cards in order to check out materials. For children under the age of sixteen, obtaining a card requires parental permission and the parent must accompany the child to the library in order to obtain a card. The library can assist in expediting this process by providing registration forms to teachers in advance of the visit. However, the parent must bring the child to the library in order to obtain the card. Children aged twelve and under may use the Internet only when accompanied by a parent. Teachers are expected to remain in full control of their classes while they are in the library. The Library’s Rules of Behavior are in effect during class visits.
Preschool Outreach Program (POP)
"POP" is an outreach service that brings the library resources to licensed preschool classrooms. Trained volunteers take deposit collections of books to classrooms once every four weeks. A storytime program is scheduled at each POP visit. No fines or fees are charged. Call the Preschool Outreach Program Office at 250-4729 for additional information. If you'd like to be a POP volunteer, download the job description (PDF) and application (PDF).
All libraries in the system have public computers with access to the Internet. Students under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. All patrons 13 and up must show ID or a library care to use the internet.
Programming For Children
Preschool Storytimes and Toddler Times
Want to help your child learn to love reading and books and get a head start on learning? Come your child to Storytime or Toddler Time! Buncombe County Public Libraries offers weekly storytimes for preschool children ages 3 – 6 in all libraries, all year long. Each session lasts 30 minutes and includes books, songs, puppets, fingerplays, creative drama, and other activities to stimulate and entertain young minds.
Toddler Times are offered at several of our libraries throughout the year. Children ages 18 – 36 months and their caregiver will receive 20 minutes of age-appropriate activities and reading. Both programs are presented by librarians who are trained specifically to work with children.
"Stories Comin’ Round the Mountain" Storytelling
Students and teachers in Buncombe County have been coming to Pack Memorial Library for over fifteen years to enjoy a storytelling festival produced by Buncombe County Public Libraries staff. The festival is currently held in the fall. Schools are asked to register ahead of time so that seating can be assigned. The public is always welcomed to attend. The presentation is aimed at children in grades K through 5. There is no charge to attend. For additional information, call 250-4720. Specific dates will be added to this site when that information becomes available.
"Preschoolers, We Love You!"
Young children and their teachers are treated to their very own show in Pack Memorial’s Lord Auditorium. Songs, stories, story dramatizations, and a load of silliness bring laughter and delight to our audience. Licensed and family childcare centers are invited to bring their children but reservations are necessary. Of course, the general public is invited also. There is no charge to bring your child or your group of children. For additional information, call 250-4720.
Special programs for children during the school year
Check the Calendar of Events page. Some activities are repeated every year, like the Winter Reading Challenge at the Swannanoa Branch or the South Buncombe Branch Spring Egg Hunt while other programs are planned on a monthly basis.