The library will be closed for Memorial Day on May 28 & 29. More details »
The library's Youth Services Department encourages lifelong learning through inquiry-based, developmentally appropriate programming and collections. We strive to empower children of all ages, interests, and abilities to discover the joy of reading and learning through dynamic programs and an extensive collection.
It’s important to note that although our programs are designed for children from infancy through 5th grade, our collections are designed for the interests and educational needs of children from infancy through 8th grade.
Reopening May 1 for children ages 7 and up, the Exploration Lab (Lab) is a space designed to encourage lifelong learners in the library. The Exploration Kits and tinker activities in the Lab encourage kids of all learning styles to freely explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) topics, while giving them the chance to fail without fear. It’s a space where they can learn through play, make new connections by working with other kids, and have meaningful interactions with library staff.
Exploration Lab School Year Hours (August–May)
The Lab will be closed from May 20–31 as we prepare for Summer Reading fun!
Exploration Lab Summer Hours (June–July)
Fri & Sat 9am–1pm
Looking for STEAM fun for younger kids? Children ages 3–6 may choose an Exploration Jr. Kit from our special list to check out during Lab hours and enjoy with an adult (aged 16+) in the Kids Area outside of the Lab. You may check out one kit at a time. Please use Exploration Jr. Kits within the Kids Area only.
Unable to visit the Exploration Lab? Check out our STEAMAdventures@Home activities.
Our school-age programs cover a wide range of topics for grades K–5. Many programs are broken into smaller age groupings.
Learn more about school-age programs and see the schedule here.
Kids in grades K–5 can read books and earn free prize books along the way in this fun online program. Get started any time at carmel.beanstack.com.
Use this service to reserve and borrow book discussion kits for use at home or at school. These are perfect for kids and families, and for teachers and students.
The Youth Library Council is an advisory board of students in 4th and 5th grades. They meet monthly (September through May) with Youth Services Department staff to help the library develop resources, services, and events for school-age patrons while also promoting the library to students and the community.
Members are expected to miss no more than two meetings per semester and attend at least two other library programs per semester.
Applications are available May 1–31. Applications, Letters of Recommendation, and Volunteer Agreement and Release forms are due by the end of May, and acceptance emails are sent out before July 1.
JE Picture Books
Traditional picture books that encompass a multitude of themes and writing and illustration styles. The reading and interest levels range from preschool to middle school. These are books that are great for children to read on their own but are fabulous when shared with a parent or caregiver.
Informational books geared toward kids of all ages. Our nonfiction collection covers many subjects and is a primary resource for children involved in school or personal research. Arranged by subject area, our nonfiction books are available in a wide range of reading levels and have something of interest for everyone.
R Beginning Readers
Designed for children who are learning to read, our beginning reader books are loosely color-coded by reading level. At first glance, R books seem like another collection of picture books. While many of them are also good for sharing with preschoolers, beginning reader books serve as tools for reading practice. Generally consisting of controlled vocabulary, supportive illustrations, and clear story lines, R books are perfect for the beginning reader. Books in this collection are geared toward both the emergent and independent reader. The easiest books in this collection are identified by a red dot on the spine; other dot colors are used to identify progressively more advanced books.
Chapter books that appeal to younger independent readers. In this area you can find series favorites such as Owl Diaries, Magic Tree House, and Dragon Masters. Most of these books include illustrations to enhance the text. JR Fiction books are appropriate for strong 2nd grade to 4th grade readers.
Intermediate, middle-grade novels. This collection houses longer, more complex books that are written generally for 4th–8th graders. Many series (like Harry Potter) are found in this collection, along with stand-alone books.
J World Languages
Recognizing that we live in a diverse community, we endeavor to provide resources for those whose native language is not English, and for native speakers who would like to introduce their children to new languages. Our world language collection houses translations of some of the most popular books from our general collection as well as books from other cultures.
Graphic Novels and Graphic Nonfiction
Books written and illustrated in the style of a comic book. A book is considered a graphic novel (rather than a picture book or illustrated novel) if the story is told using a combination of words and pictures in a sequence across the page. Common elements of a graphic novel are text, images, word balloons, sound effects, and panels.
Board Games and Adventure Kits
Hands-on activities for kids to check out and explore at home. Adventure Kits are self-contained activities/challenges in a STEAM or literacy field that encourage individual play and exploration. Board games require at least two players.
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