Favorite Libraries for Kids and Families Around the Main Line
A list of the Main Line Parent Community's highly recommended libraries!
A favorite library is more than just a place to borrow books. It’s a community hub, a quiet workspace, a place to learn, and for parents, it’s a safe and welcoming place to bring your family. Sometimes, the hardest part of your day is figuring out what to do with your kids. On those days, the local library comes to rescue and provides a much-needed escape from the doldrums of home.
We asked the the Main Line Parent Community about their favorite libraries for kids and families and which ones have unique services, like a cake pan lending library. The libraries that got the most shout-out have a regular schedule of story times and other children’s programming, from book clubs to teen code clubs. And they have a cheerful children’s section full of books for kids of all ages, comfy spaces, and kid-sized tables and chairs. Libraries that are stocked with engaging and educational toys score extra points! Luckily, the Main Line area has plenty of libraries that check those boxes. So next time you’re looking for a free and fun family outing, make a day trip to one of these outstanding local libraries.
720 First Avenue, Berwyn
Easily accessible in central Berwyn, Easttown Library is home to the expansive Hartstrings Children’s Library and gets the thumbs up from numerous parents for its story times and children’s activities.
Crista M. says it’s one of her favorite libraries because it has “an amazing children’s section and programs.” One of those programs is Miss Patsy’s Outdoor Story time, which one Main Line parent praised as “the best!” The library hosts other activities in their children’s program like Tween Book Club, Virtual Lego Club, and Maker Space.
5 S Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr
Situated in the heart of the Main Line, Ludington Library is the largest library in the Lower Merion Library System (LMLS). The striking building features a wall of two-story windows facing out toward Lancaster Avenue. Inside the bright, spacious library you’ll find plenty of quiet spaces to read and study and a vast collection of books and materials, including a “huge children’s department” says Dave B. In March 2022, the library will be returning their educational toys to the Ludington Junior Room and Children’s Department and bringing back its indoor story time!
Some unique offering at Ludington Library are its considerable collection of TV shows and movies to borrow and its cake pan lending library. If you’re feeling inspired to show your kids who’s the cake boss, be sure to browse their cake pans where you’ll find Elsa, Mickey Mouse, Madeleine, dinosaurs, butterflies and more.
2599 Sproul Road, Broomall
Marple Library is a sprawling, one-story building that’s home to an array of community programs and services for children, teens and adults, plus museum passes, meeting room rentals, quiet areas for adults and more.
Marple Library has a wonderful children’s section. The room is open and bright with murals painted on the wall and many, many shelves of children’s books. The space is furnished with kid-sized tables and brightly colored chairs. Visitors will also find toy tables, activity cubes, and other engaging playthings.
Kate T. says Marple Library has “amazing children’s programs.” Parents rave about the children’s librarian there, known as Miss Mel, who hosts a weekly book trek for the littles called Book Trip Tuesdays. Rachael M. says, “I love the Marple library. They have a huge, easy-to-navigate children’s selection, no limit on borrows, and Miss Mel is the best librarian!” For older children, here’s a dedicated teen area, with booths for hanging out and a curated selection of teen materials.
Middletown Free Library
464 S Old Middletown Road, Suite 3, Media
TIffany D. is a big fan of Middletown Free Library. She says “it has so much natural night, a wonderful book and game selection, and a monthly schedule full of so many fun activities!”
One the programs at Middletown Free Library that make it a favorite love is Mr. Jason’s story time. Cat A. K. says he “is the superstar in this county” for the multiple story times he hosts each week. Each week, Mr. Jason selects one book and hosts approximately 10 indoor and virtual story times. Christina B. says Mr. Jason’s story times “is a favorite of all the kids!” and that Middletown Library does great programming for children, like the popular Dance Me a Story.
Another great program for children is the Budding Engineers featuring building toys. Parents and kids can drop in on Mondays to play and create with LEGO bricks, Duplos, Lincoln Logs, Wooden Blocks, Magna-Tiles, K’NEX, Magic Tracks, and Squigz. Teens have their own space at Middletown that features lounge seating and a collaboration space for up to six people, where youth ages 12–19 are welcome to gather to work on homework or projects, watch a show on a Roku Smart TV, or play video games on the library’s Playstation 3.
Newtown Public Library
201 Bishop Hollow Road, Newtown Square
The Newtown Public Library is a big, brick building with plenty of windows and a bright, pleasant interior space. It is part of the Delaware County Library System (DCLS).
Lee G. G. appreciates its “great kids area and friendly staff.” Situated in the children’s area are two Early Literacy Station computers for young readers to enjoy. And on the Newtown Public Library website you’ll find access to Tumble Books. This is a free collection of online, interactive picture books, provided by DCLS.
The Newtown Public Library children’s programs include story times geared for a range of ages, from toddler through preschool. Other children’s programs are the book club for early elementary school children and music classes for the littlest ones. Kate T. really appreciates the children’s librarian at Newtown. “Miss Angela is so sweet!” she says. “She is kind and passionate about reading, and provides fun and interactive lessons for the kids.”
Penn Wynne Library
130 Overbrook Parkway, Wynnewood
This favorite, neighborhood library sits on a tree-lined street in Wynnewood and offers a pleasant space to spend a few hours reading and exploring. The library was renovated in 2016 to include two glass-enclosed additions. As a result, these improvements added light and space to the adult and children’s areas, more seating and work spaces, and a handicapped-accessible meeting room.
The children’s area houses a sizable collection of books, plus a story room. This warm, inviting space has a vaulted wood ceiling, wood trim, and lots of windows. One of librarians creative programs is Lit Loot for middle and high school readers. Students fill out a questionnaire and Penn Wynne librarians select three books for them, based on their answers. Each student gets a bag with their curated books to borrow, along with some fun loot to keep.
Laurie B. S. says, “Penn Wynne Library has friendly staff, creative children’s librarians, and is an integral part of the community.”
Radnor Memorial Library
114 W Wayne Avenue, Wayne
In 1946, the Wayne Library was renamed Radnor Memorial Library in memory of the community members who died in World War II. Since that time, the one-story building has become wheelchair accessible and grown to provide many resources to the community. You’ll find public meeting rooms, children, teen and adult programming, public access computers, and museum passes. As part of the DCLS, Radnor Memorial Library provides free access to Tumble Books. This is a collection of online, interactive picture books for beginning readers.
Danielle G. S. enthusiastically recommends Radnor Memorial Library: “Their children’s section is awesome. They have a giant board book selection and the Peter Rabbit room is a great spot for my 4-year-old to sit and read books, while I scan the shelves. Their picture book selection is also great. The children’s librarians are also very kind and engaging—I’m pretty sure it’s still the same two [librarians] for the last ten years.”
Tredyffrin Library, 582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford (adjacent to Devon)
Paoli Library, 18 Darby Road, Paoli
The Tredyffrin Township Libraries comprise two branches: Tredyffrin Library and Paoli Library. In fact, both branches are favorite libraries in the Main Line Parent Community.
Tredyffrin Library describes itself as a “bustling community center where people of all ages come to learn, share and grow in a beautiful, spacious building overlooking Strafford Park.” In short, it truly is a community center. Not only will you find a huge collection of books and materials, but also public computers, free wi-fi, and plenty of quiet work and reading spaces. Other community resources include a robust schedule of classes for adults, teens, children, a museum passport program, meeting rooms, a book shop and more.
Paoli Library is affectionately known as “the biggest little library around” with excellent children’s programming. “Paoli Library is very small, but Miss Stephanie the librarian is SO fun,” says Katrina P. “She has great activities and story times.”
One of the unique offerings at both libraries are hands-on STEM kits. Basically, these kits feature interactive toys, games, science equipment, and books that families can borrow. Both libraries have stellar teen departments too! For instance, Rachel Kramer, a parent and employee of Tredyffrin Township Libraries, told us their Teen Librarian, Laurie Doan won the “I Love My Librarian” award in 2017. This is a prestigious award given by the American Library Association. Rachel says, “Laurie’s programming ranges from game nights, to full-size drama productions, as well as hikes and book clubs. Undoubtedly, she has made Tredyffrin’s Teen Department a hot spot for many years.”
Upper Merion Library
175 W Valley Forge Rd, King of Prussia
The Upper Merion Library is an enormous, two-story building situated in a pleasant, township park setting. This library is a Main Line Parent Community favorite because it has so much to offer kids and families. Medha P. says, “Upper Merion Library has easy parking, great programs, lots of books, and very friendly and knowledgeable staff.”
Upper Merion Library has an amazing play area that’s open and bright with plenty of space for kids to spread out. Additionally, the room is furnished with kid-sized wooden furniture and offers computers and a huge assortment of books. In the days before COVID-19 pandemic, there were shelves of toys and play sets. However, the toys were temporarily put away in 2020, but Upper Merion Library Director, Laura Arnhold says the toys will be gradually returned in the Spring of 2022. That will make a lot of Main Line parents and kids very happy.
“Upper Merion is excellent,” says Ashley K. “Their kids section is HUGE and they do an awesome job with a wide variety of diverse books.” If all that wasn’t enough to make Upper Merion Library a favorite library, she told us there is also a walking path to a playground behind the library. It’s certainly no wonder parents love this library. It’s both a place to foster a love of reading and a place to play!
Lead photo courtesy of Newtown Public Library.