Students reading books in a library (credit: Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images)

Local libraries are oftentimes one of a community’s best and most underused resources. The San Francisco Public Library system offers a vast wealth of fun and information beyond the traditional library materials. Library card holders can access everything from free area museum passes to online live chat homework assistance. These are five of San Francisco’s best library kids’ programs.

Discover & Go
San Francisco Public Library – All Branches
San Francisco, CA
(415) 557-4400
sfpl.org

The Discover & Go program has partnered up with the San Francisco Public Library to provide discounted passes to numerous Bay Area attractions. The program enables library card holders to access discounted or complimentary admission to a wide variety of museums throughout the Bay. Card holders can peruse the library’s Discover & Go link either by venue, or by desired date of visit. Attractions range all over the board from the California Academy of Sciences and Madame Tussauds to the Marine Mammal Center and The San Francisco Dungeon. Restrictions and discounts vary, and passes for specific dates should be reserved through the Discover & Go web link.

The Fisher Children’s Center
San Francisco Main Public Library
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4400
sfpl.org

Located on the second floor of the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, the Fisher Children’s Center is home to an interactive learning designed to foster a love of reading in kids. This hands-on space for provides resources for children, parents and educators. Visitors can access a wide variety of media including children’s literature, DVDs, graphic novels and computers. The Fisher Center is also where smaller kids’ story times are held, as well as special events.

Online Homework Help
San Francisco Public Library – All Branches
San Francisco, CA
(415) 557-4400
sfpl.org 

Another online program run through the San Francisco Public Library is Homework Help. This user-friendly resource provides kids a wealth of information at their fingertips. With an easy-to-use interface, kids can select from a variety of categories such as language arts, people and biography or world languages. Within each category are links to databases, websites, recommended book lists and local San Francisco resources. Card holders can also get live chat assistance and access the library’s vast network of online materials like ebooks, newspapers and magazines.

Swing Into Stories
Various Locations
San Francisco, CA
(415) 557-4400
sfpl.org 

Swing Into Stories is a program designed to instill kids with a love of reading outdoors. The San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with the public library’s Green Bookmobile to provide access to reading materials directly where kids are playing. Events are held Tuesday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at numerous parks around the city. Some events include a musical storytime, and each will provide kids access to the bookmobiles materials and the opportunity to get a library card.

Story Times
San Francisco Public Library – Various Branches
San Francisco, CA
(415) 557-4400
sfpl.org

Kids library storytimes are often a library’s most attended events. Many of San Francisco’s public libraries hold storytimes geared for a variety of ages. Options vary by time and branch. Ever popular are the Family Storytimes aimed at kids up to age 5, which include not only stories, but fingerplays and singing, and the English-Spanish bilingual storytimes for kids 18 months through 2 years. Early arrival is recommended, as attendance is limited and tickets are available for most storytimes on a first-come first-served basis.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.


 

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