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Best Libraries for Kids in Northern Virginia

The best libraries for kids in Northern Virginia offer various programs and have interactive toys and games to keep little ones interested.

Kelly O'Lone
Kelly O'Lone

Table of Contents

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't love the library because it's a free activity that never gets old. The library is perfect for hot summer days, colder afternoons, and all the days in between. However, the truth is I'd pay to go to the library.

To make it easier for you to determine which library is most convenient in Northern Virginia, I've broken the libraries down by county. Also, if you visit a library outside your county, you usually can't check out books, but you should have no issue attending a children's program.

Finally, consider signing up for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program if you have a preschooler. It's a great way to spend time together and encourage reading at a young age.

Prince William County

Prince William County is home to twelve libraries, so there is a good chance you have one close to you. Each library hosts events for all ages, so it's best to look at their calendar to find one at your preferred library.

Haymarket Gainesville Library

Photo by Kelly O'Lone/Haymarket Gainesville Library 

Haymarket Gainesville Library definitely tops my list of best libraries for kids in Northern Virginia. First, they have a fantastic children's section with plenty of book choices for every reader in your family. There are also various puzzles, a small play area, rentable tablets, and computers.

The library hosts storytimes for various ages, a LEGO club for ages 8-12, a Girls Who Code class for grades 6-12, Dungeons & Dragons for grades 9-12, a Pokemon Club for all ages, and a Hawaiian dance class for the whole family.

My kids also love the reading to dogs event that usually occurs once a month and is a fantastic opportunity for young readers to become more comfortable with their reading.

Address: 14870 Lightner Rd, Haymarket, VA 20169
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Closed Sundays

Bull Run Regional Library

Photo by Prince William County Public Libraries Via Facebook/Bull Run Library 

Bull Run Library in Manassas recently reopened after a series of renovations after nine months of work. The updates include a renovated children's area and new furniture, perfect for reading together. Children can also work on puzzles and explore the quaint selection of toys.

The library has similar activities to the Haymarket location, including Baby Storytime, Picnic Storytime, and a Stuffed Animal Sleepover, where children can leave their favorite stuffed animal overnight at the library.

Address: 8051 Ashton Ave, Manassas, VA 20109
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Chinn Park Regional Library

Photo by Prince William County Public Libraries via Facebook/ Chinn Park Regional Library 

Chinn Park Regional Library celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021, and there's no sign of them slowing down with what they offer the community.

Throughout the week, the library offers several storytime classes for children of all ages. While monthly events vary, the library hosts special events like Pirate Bingo, Chinn Park Chess Club, Writing Fan Fiction for grades 6-12, Reading to Dogs, and a Family Craft Night.

Chinn Park also has a Creative Arts Contest for grades 6-12, where students can submit art, short stories, or poetry in hopes of winning prizes. I find the selection of programs to be quite expansive, and I encourage you to look at the monthly calendar to find the best fit for your family.

Address: 13065 Chinn Park Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22192
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Fairfax County

Fairfax County is home to nearly double the amount of libraries Prince William offers, so don't feel the need to travel all over Northern Virginia. Instead, check out the monthly calendar to find out more information about upcoming events.

City of Fairfax Regional Library

Photo by Fairfax County Library via Facebook 

The City of Fairfax Regional Library is situated in the heart of Old Town Fairfax, so you can make a day out of your visit to the library and top it off with lunch nearby. With the park nearby, you can also check out some favorites and read them outside on a beautiful day.

The library has several children's activities, including StoryTime Yoga, Storytime at Old Town Square, which is held in the park, Tales to Tails, Bilingual Storytime, Family Math Games, Stem Art, and much more.

Address: 10360 North St., Fairfax, VA 22030
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m, Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Reston Regional Library

Photo by Reston Regional Library via Facebook 

Children have plenty of space to explore at the Reston Regional Library, starting with the welcome sign to "Children's World." The children's section has multiple tables and chairs, so children can relax and take a peek at their book selections.

In addition, there are two separate rooms for pre-readers and readers, complete with storybook murals on the wall. Library events include Read to the Dog, Homework Help, various Storytimes, Music Classes, and opportunities to purchase pre-owned books and puzzles.

Address:11925 Bowman Towne Dr, Reston, VA 20190
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m, Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Patrick Henry Library

Photo by Patrick Henry Library via Facebook

Patrick Henry Library is a fantastic library in Vienna for children to visit and offers a separate children's section away from the rest of the library. Like other libraries on the list, Patrick Henry Library offers various Storytime classes, Music Together Class, a Harry Potter Escape Room Special Event, Fall Festival, and a pajama-filled Storytime.

The library has plenty of places for young readers to sit, including tables, chairs, and a couch. In addition, the children's area has a selection of toys perfect for the younger ones in your family.

Address: 101 Maple Ave E, Vienna, VA 22180
Hours: Monday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m, Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., ClosIn

Pohick Regional Library

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Located in Burke, Pohick Regional Library offers a wonderful children's section with a new literacy center. In addition, the library has a Teen Gaming Center with PlayStation and Xbox consoles and many games. The library also has a quiet study room, ideal for the older kids who wish to block out any noise.

Pohick Regional Library offers programs like Pop-Up Stories Outside, Chess Club, LEGO Kid's Club, Art Club, Storytimes, Gardening Clinic, and many more to keep your kids interested. I appreciate that the area libraries have something for all age groups and notice what toddlers will like versus what teenagers prefer.

Address: 6450 Sydenstricker Rd, Burke, VA 22015
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m, Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Loudoun County

Loudoun County is one of the smaller counties regarding libraries, but they have several you don't want to miss. Remember, checking the library's main calendar for the most up-to-date events is best.

Brambleton Library

Photo by Brambleton Library via Facebook

Brambleton Library has an incredibly unique children's area, complete with a wall opening big enough for a child (or parent) to sit and read a book. In addition, there are several tables with chairs, making it easy for kids to take a preview of the books they want to check out.

The children's area is bright and inviting, and monthly events include Storytime, Puppet, Shows, Stuffed Animal Sleepovers, and Arts & Crafts. Also, the library features an Outdoor Storytime, Skill-Building Programs, and Live Music Performances.

Address: 22850 Brambleton Plaza, Brambleton, VA 20148
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Gum Spring Library

Photo by Gum Spring Library via Facebook

When kids visit the Gum Spring Library, they can partake in many activities, including a StoryWalk at the pond next door, Mystery Crafts, Musical Storytime, Toddler and Family Storytime, and a Children's Book Club. The library also has a monthly scavenger hunt where children can win prizes. Past years have also welcomed science clubs, so my fingers are crossed they continue this tradition.

There also is a STEAM Club for grades K-5, which sounds right up my 8-year-old's alley. In addition, there is an Introduction to Robotics class for grades 3-7. I love that the library is branching out and adding various classes that aren't necessarily book-related but created to spark a new interest in children.

Address: 24600 Millstream Dr, Stone Ridge, VA 20105
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Rust Library

Photo by Catherine Hammond on Unsplash

Every good fairy tale starts with "Once Upon a Time," and those exact words welcome kids into the children's area at Rust Library in Leesburg. Families can enjoy programs like Toddler, Family, and Preschool Storytimes, Pre-K Skill Building, Live Music, Children's Book Club, and Family Crafts.

The library also offers a teen area equipped with gaming systems, 24 computers, board games, and no shortage of books. In addition, there are specific teen activities, including DIY projects, Origami Classes, Portrait Drawing Classes, and a meeting for children with chronic illnesses to come together and talk in a safe space.

Address: 380 Old Waterford Rd. NW, Leesburg, VA 20176
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Arlington County

Even though Arlington is home to fewer than ten libraries, it offers plenty to families. In addition, you can check the Arlington County Public Library calendar for a complete listing of upcoming programs.

Glencarlyn Library

Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash

Glencarlyn Library is situated off South Kensington Street in Arlington and offers various programs for young readers. For example, the library has Family Storytime, Monthly Paper Crafts, including special holiday sessions, and a Stop-in Storytime with music and reading.

While the location isn't huge, it has the right amount to satisfy any child's reading taste buds. As a note, all programs are first-come, first-served, so they will close the space off to additional patrons if they reach capacity. If you're anything like me, plan on getting there early to secure a spot.

Address: 300 South Kensington Street, Arlington, VA 22204
Hours: Monday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m, Tuesday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday & Thursday: 10 a.m., Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: Closed

Aurora Hills Library

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

When we lived in California, I loved taking my babies to storytime because it was such an excellent opportunity to have them listen to music, interact with other little ones, and hear the fantastic rendition of some of our favorite books told by our enthusiastic librarian. Aurora Hills offers a Baby Lapsit Storytime, perfect for those kiddos one and under who will thoroughly enjoy the songs, nursery rhymes, and various manipulatives.

The library is also home to Family Storytime, ideal for ages 0-5, and Kids Club, a program for grades K-5 where they explore building, crafts, books, and arts. The Kids Club usually is held at 4:30 pm during the week, so it's a great after-school activity that helps make learning fun.

Address: 735 South 18th St S, Arlington, VA 22202
Hours: Monday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m, Tuesday 12 p.m. - 8 p.m., Wednesday & Thursday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday: Closed

Shirlington Library

Photo by Camila Franco on Unsplash

Shirlington Library is another excellent stop for several kid-centered activities, including Family Storytime, Spanish Storytime, STEAM Fun for Little Ones, Artsy Saturdays, Baby Lap Storytime, and an incredibly fun Latin Dance Library Challenge, where children and parents get to listen to music and stories revolving around genres like salsa, merengue, and cumbia.

The library also hosts a Kids’ Club that lets children get creative with LEGOs, Crystal Climbers, KEVA planks, and more. While no registration is required, you want to get there a little early to secure your spot. Also, Shirlington Library has some of the most impressive Sunday hours I’ve seen throughout the area.

Address: 4200 Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA 22206
Hours: Monday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Tuesday 12 p.m. - 8 p.m., Wednesday & Thursday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.Friday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Helpful Tips

  • If you plan on signing up for a library card, ensure you have a piece of mail that verifies your address.
  • Library cards are available for children.
  • Check the hours of the particular library you wish to visit, as some are not open on Sundays, and hours vary by location.
  • Some events require you to sign up online ahead of time, so it’s always best to check before you go.
  • Events are subject to cancellation if there isn’t enough participation.
  • Some libraries close additional days for holidays.
  • Don’t forget to bring a bag to carry your library books; your back will thank you!

That's a Wrap!

While this list is a mere glance at libraries in Northern Virginia. It's a starting point to which ones have fantastic children's activities. The library is also a wonderful place to get your children excited about reading and allows them to explore and find books that interest them.

If I missed your favorite library, send us a message or comment below so we can let others know which libraries they shouldn't miss in Northern Virginia.

Kelly O'Lone

Kelly O'Lone is a mom of three who survives motherhood with some help from caffeine, a lot of humor, and her fantastic mom tribe.