5 things you might not know about the library - 510 Families
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5 things you might not know about the library


1. Most public libraries have storytimes for children. We have put many of them on our events calendar because letting someone else read to your child is a good excuse to get out of the house. Most include songs, fingerplay, and sometimes puppets. Ok, you already knew this? How about…

2. Children can get their own library cards. In Berkeley, children’s materials checked out on any card will not be assigned overdue fines. Parents will receive email reminders when materials are due. (Videos will be fined.)

3. Some libraries have book club kits. A tupperware container with 8 copies of the same book and a reading guide can be checked out from the North Berkeley library. (Search “book club to go” in the online catalog to see the selection.)

4. The downtown Berkeley library is a fun outing. The elevator features wheelchair-friendly buttons to push with your foot. Take the lift upstairs to find the children’s area. There you’ll find a rocket to climb on. On the weekends, free performances may take place in the stacks area.


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5. You can borrow membership cards to museums. Discover and Go passes can be reserved and printed from your own home, without a library visit.

Bonus tip for parents who love to read: Check out books on your Kindle or any e-book reader. There is often a wait for digital copies of the book, but you can get on the waitlist to receive an email when it’s your turn to “borrow” the e-book.  While it’s sort of a hassle to figure this connection out, it’s worth the effort. Once you’ve got the system set up, free books!

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5 thoughts on “5 things you might not know about the library”

  1. Hi! I’m the Manager for Neighborhood and Children’s Services for the Berkeley Public Library, and we’re so glad you’re sharing information on using the library! We’ve changed a few of our policies recently, so I thought I’d share:

    – Children of any age can get a Berkeley Public Library card, there’s no longer an age limit.

    – Children’s materials (including DVDs) have no fines at BPL, regardless of who checks them out; teen and adult materials accrue fines, even if checked out on a child’s card.

    – Bay Area Discovery Museum and Habitot passes are now available exclusively through Discover & Go. And Discover & Go is available through Alameda County and Oakland libraries as well – it’s such a valuable resource, everyone should take advantage of it, no matter which library system you use!

    Thanks for doing everything you do, and we look forward to seeing you at the library!

    – Sarah Dentan, Neighborhood and Children’s Services Manager, Berkeley Public Library

  2. Debra Guckenheimer

    Your calendar is missing a really great library program at the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Public Library.

  3. Thank you, Sarah, for the extra info. It’s nice to hear that the Habitot pass is on Discover and Go now. I was disappointed before when I couldn’t find it on D & G or anywhere in the library catalogs.
    The Berkeley Public Library system and all of the many services and materials they offer really is amazing.

  4. (follow up from my previous comment) and of course, thanks 510 Families for the tips. I didn’t know about the e-reading materials or the book club kits for kids.

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