The Rapidian

Get your child involved at the Grand Rapids Public Library

One of the programs now running at the library is called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.
Grand Rapids Public Library

Grand Rapids Public Library /Melissa Allor

Storytime classes offered at Grand Rapids Public Library

Baby & Me

Age: 0-18 months

Class length: 15 minutes

Toddler Time

Age: 18 months - 3 years

Class length: 60 minutes

Family Time

Class length: 60 minutes

Pajama Time

Class length: 60 minutes

For more information on class locations, dates, and times please visit


Grand Rapids Public Library

Grand Rapids Public Library /Melissa Allor

Grand Rapids Public Library

Grand Rapids Public Library /Melissa Allor

An icon of learning in the Grand Rapids area, the Grand Rapids Public Library holds more opportunities for families with youngsters than just checking out books. The storytime programs, which provide opportunities for children age 0 to 5, encourage children to develop skills needed early on that can prepare them for their education.

The librarians and library assistants go through extensive training for the roles they play in the storytime classes. This training, referred to as Every Child Ready to Read, focuses on the five ways that children learn to read, through talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. Jessica Bratt, the youth services manager, said that these trained librarians are “equal parts educator and equal parts performer,” as they go through a training very similar to teaching.

Parent’s responses to the program have been positive with feedback in the form of letters to the library explaining the growth parents have seen in their child since participating in the programs.

“One of the sweetest letters was from a parent whose child opened up and began singing in the car,” and another whose “daughter comes home and gathers her siblings to read like Mr. Car," Bratt said.

Bratt’s specific role at the library has her “taking the vision and mission” and “interpreting it for the residents of Grand Rapids.”

“Depending on the event it may take a team of people, or just one” to run a program, she said.

One of the current programs running at the library includes the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. Bratt points out, “Children can sign up and start as soon as they're born.” In this particular program children receive a prize at every milestone and a larger prize at the bigger milestones. Bratt said, “it is a great way to encourage your child and foster the love for reading.”

Upcoming programs include Let’s Play where Bratt describes the room as “Set up for play,” and notes that “Specialists are brought in to talk to parents in a relaxed way.”

Classes currently running at the Grand Rapids Public Library include Baby & Me, Toddler Time, Family Time, Pajama Time, and Pajama Time in Spanish. Each of these programs is tailored to the age group in attendance, and activities are catered to their learning needs.

For more information on the storytime classes offered by the Grand Rapids Public Library please visit

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