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Youth department has a busy fall calendar

LANSING, Ill. (September 16, 2023) – Labor Day has passed, school bells are ringing, and everything is pumpkin flavored — the fall season has begun, and that means the Lansing Library youth department’s fall programming is in full swing.

Kids books are organized by topic. (Photo: Ashlee De Wit)

Kids-focused organization

The library offers many options for all ages, starting with the books on the shelves. In the youth department on the lower level, books have been reorganized by topics — such as dinosaurs, unicorns, holidays, grandparents, and bedtime.

“Studies have shown that categorizing picture books greatly increases circulation,” said Beth Bozzo, the library’s Head of Youth and Teen Services. “Kids are visual and are looking for specific topics, so we wanted to be aware of what [they] need, and categories are what’s best for them.”

Access to many books

If readers of any age are looking for more options, Lansing Public Library cardholders can request any book in the SWAN Library — a network of about 100 libraries in the Chicago area — and it will be delivered to Lansing for pickup at the library. This extends to audio books, movies, and video games for various consoles as well. Last year, Lansing’s library sent out more than 17,000 books and received more than 12,000 through this program.

The Lansing Public Library has toys, coloring pages, and regular programs for even the youngest patrons.

Activities, events

While they are at the library, kids can play age-appropriate computer games and check out S.T.E.A.M. kits (projects focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) from the new, and very popular, “Library of Things.”

There are toys, coloring pages, and regular programs for even the youngest patrons. Preschool and toddler story time occur every week on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, respectively, and infants are invited to Music and Movement every Thursday. For the young school-age students (grades K-5), there are evening and weekend program options, including a monthly bilingual playgroup called Mi Casita.

Parents can sign up their children for events on the library website. Events do fill up, so make sure to register in advance. Patrons typically do not need a library card to sign up for events.

Middle school relationships

The library has a special relationship with middle schoolers, since it is located near Memorial Junior High School and makes a convenient after-school gathering place for students. Most programs for this age group are run out of the “Teen Island,” where for about two hours each afternoon, students can socialize, play video games, and do their homework.

“Starting at about 3 p.m., we’re really engaged with the tweens; we have a ton of tween/teen programming,” Bozzo said.

On the fall calendar for this age group is, for example: an anime club, bubble tea station, video game tournaments, fall flower and tote bag crafts, and a teen storytime event.

“We find that even tweens and teens find enjoyment in having stories read to them, and so we’re trying to encourage literacy through fun storytelling,” Bozzo said.

The library staff is also working on partnering with the Greater Chicago Food Depository for an after-school snack program to start in October.

Homework help

Homework help is offered on an as-needed basis, by both library staff and online tutors.

“Students know they can ask staff members for help when they need it, but we are also subscribed to Brainfuse HelpNow, which offers free, live tutoring help for students of all ages — kindergarten through college,” Bozzo said.

The HelpNow program is available on the computers in the library and accessible anywhere through the library website with a library card.

Library Card Sign-Up Month

Don’t have a library card? September is a great time to get one, as it is Library Card Sign-Up Month. New cardholders have a chance to win a $50 gift card.

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue. Find library resources and information online at

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)


Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit is a freelance writer and a Lansing native. After starting her career covering high school sports in Iowa, she's excited to be back in her hometown, reporting the stories of her local community — such as the opening of Troost, the informal Lansing pickleball club, a TF South Homecoming game, and Common Ground, Lansing's experiment with healthy race relations.