Free and Awesome: Story Time at Southeast Library

One of AJ’s favorite neighborhood activities is free, which makes it one of my favorites too. But there are many more reasons to love Family Story Time at Southeast Library, which happens every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

This story time has turned my little guy into a library lover, which makes my heart happy, because I love libraries too. It was our go-to activity over the winter months–so much so, that every Saturday morning, he happily announces: “No school! We go library!” Which is only bad when I’ve planned something else.

He talks about the library all the time now. We go on a walk, and he says, “We go library? Get books!”

How to credit? It’s all about children’s librarian Elaine. She is a treasure. She is energetic, funny, patient and magic: She gets a whole room of little kids to listen to her! Her spells are conjured with puppets and songs. Let me walk you through the experience.

As mentioned, story time starts at 10:30 but I like to get there early, because Elaine sets out a bin of great toys (“Dinosaurs!”) in the large, carpeted community room in the basement (enter through the stroller-friendly D Street door, and you’ll be on the basement level). Yesterday, as it was Easter weekend, she scattered eggs for the kids to collect. You can bring your stroller in–the room is that large.*

*Note: Most Saturdays, story time is held in the large basement room, but some Saturdays, the Friends of the Southeast Library take over the space for a book sale. On those Saturdays (seems to be second Saturday of each month, check the schedule), story time is held in the smaller children’s corner in the main library. This can be good too, as long as it doesn’t get too crowded (see pic at the end of this post).

You can count on a few things: Elaine will do a Hello song, a Five Little Monkeys song with finger puppets, and (important to us), a Bananas song (“Go BANANAS, go-go BANANAS”). Featured story books will vary. It’s not unusual for a little mosh pit of jumping children to surround Elaine (but the time that AJ and a few other boys started running circles around her–well, she said that was new.)

This activity is popular. On a recent Saturday, I counted 50 heads, but it’s not always that many–I think it depends on the weather. I see many of the same families from week to week, and new faces too.

Southeast Library is my library of choice because of the Eastern Market location: AJ and I like to browse through the market before and after story time. But we have four public neighborhood libraries serving us here on Capitol Hill (Northeast, Rosedale, Southeast and Southwest), and they all have story times and more weekly activities for kids of all ages.

See my lists for all the Hill library activities for kids:

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