Toddlers & Preschoolers

Quick Picks

Selections from our children's librarians

Quick Picks

You are your child’s first teacher. But you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help you! Come on in for an interactive storytime, check out some books, sign up for a class, or use our online resources to learn what you can do at home.

Special Events and Storytimes


These are the types of storytime offered at the library. Times listed are for Spring 2024 storytimes from January 8 to April 26. Use the calendar to confirm storytimes.

Baby Storytime Twenty minutes of nursery rhymes, songs, fingerplays and action for infants, birth to 18 months, and their caregivers. Followed by a special baby playtime. 

  • Z. J. Loussac Library, Fridays at 2:30pm

Toddler Storytime Twenty minutes of short stories, songs and lots of repetition to build early literacy skills for children 3 and under and their caregivers.

  • Z. J. Loussac Library, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 AM

Preschool Storytime A half hour of stories, songs and movement that build early literacy skills and prepare your preschooler ages three to five for Kindergarten.

  • Z. J. Loussac Library, Thursdays at 11 AM

Family Storytime A half-hour of stories, songs, and more to build early literacy skills; a blend of fun and education for children birth through kindergarten & their caregivers.

  • Mountain View Library, Tuesdays at 6 PM
  • Gerrish (Girdwood) Library, Wednesdays at 10:30 AM
  • Muldoon Library, Thursdays at 11:00 AM
  • Chugiak-Eagle River Library, Fridays at 10:30 AM
  • Z. J. Loussac Library, third Saturday of the month at 11:00 AM

Special STorytimes

Check the calendar for these special events. These are some of the special storytimes we offer.

Bite-Sized Science. On temporary hiatus. Get introduced to new STEM topics through books and hands-on activities just right for preschoolers ages 3-5.

Good Morning Storytime. A 30 minute storytime for ages 3 to 5 and their caregivers, followed by library browsing and free play.

Let's Go! Storytime. Get up and go with an active music and movement storytime ideal for toddlers and their caregivers (we'll sneak in some books, too.).

Once Upon a Storytime. Explore fairy tales and myths from cultures all across the globe and then create a craft to help you re-tell the story at home. Ages flexible but scissor skills recommended.

Sensory Friendly Storytime. On temporary hiatus. A specially designed storytime tailored to meet the needs of youth with sensory issues and their families, engaging children through movement, music, stories, and play. While open to all children, sensory friendly storytimes are geared toward children on the autism spectrum, those with sensory integration challenges, or children who have difficulty sitting. For children ages 2-8 and their families. Print our social story

Start With Art. On temporary hiatus. Learn about a new artist or art style through story and then try a simple project. Ages flexible but scissor skills recommended.

Virtual Storytime. Approximately 30 minutes of stories, songs, and rhymes on Facebook. Join us live or recorded.

Wee Be Jammin’ On temporary hiatus. Come have fun with music, movement, and simple instruments. All ages.

Early Literacy

icons showing a person reading, music note, blocks, speech bubble, pencil

What is Early Literacy?

Early literacy is what children know about communication, language, reading, and writing before they can actually read and write. It is all of a child’s early experiences with language, stories, books, and print.

Early literacy matters because many of Anchorage's young children enter kindergarten without proper early literacy skills. These literacy skills are necessary for children to learn how to read AND to become good readers. When a child reads well, it leads to greater success in school (including high school graduation), higher self-esteem, and wider choices and options in life after they leave school.  During the first three years of a child’s life, the brain develops at an extremely fast rate. This is when children are more receptive to gaining language and literacy skills. It is critical that during this time we promote early literacy.

Parents and caregivers are a child’s first teachers. You may not think of yourself as a teacher, but children learn about new words and concepts by interacting with caring adults. To encourage early literacy development in the infants and toddlers in your life, caregivers are encouraged to use five practices:

  1. Reading. Listening to books read aloud passes along many skills. Choose books that you both enjoy and read 15-20 minutes every day in small chunks.
  2. Singing. Songs and rhymes help slow down language and assign a note or beat to each syllable. This helps children hear the different sounds that make up words. Sing songs from your childhood or songs you make up together.
  3. Playing. Open-ended play helps children put thoughts into words and think symbolically. Have fun and be silly playing imaginative and interactive games.
  4. Talking. Narrate your daily routines and ask open-ended questions to teach new words and concepts to grow your child's brain. Use the language that you are most comfortable and confident using.
  5. Writing. Drawing, scribbling, and coloring are the beginnings of writing skills. Encourage open-ended drawing and fine motor activities to prepare your child to learn to write.

Ask a librarian for help finding books to share with your child and come to one of our weekly storytimes to see the early literacy practices in action! You can also take our Fundamentals of Early Literacy training for free online through our YouTube channel. More details can be found in the Parents & Teachers section of our website. 

Anchorage Public Library has an Early Literacy Outreach Librarian on staff thanks to funding provided by the Municipality of Anchorage Alcohol Tax. Cheers to you, Anchorage! Learn how the Alcohol Tax is making a difference.

Reimagine Anchorage


Early Literacy Organizations

Enjoy these Anchorage and Alaska specific resources for early childhood education, early literacy, and kindergarten readiness.

  • thread - Find childcare and early childhood education options.
  • Anchorage School District: Kindergarten - Local resources for getting ready for Kindergarten
  • Best Beginnings - Alaska-focused activities for early learning
  • Anchorage Imagination Library - Children under the age of 5 and residing in the Municipality of Anchorage are eligible to receive books through this program.
  • PIC AK - Programs for Infants and Children, Alaska, assessment and special needs and developmental assistance for children up to age 3.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Moose Reading a Book titled 1,000 Books

The Anchorage Public Library has made a commitment to kindergarten readiness by encouraging all preschool-aged children to read 1,000 books before Kindergarten. It’s a realistic goal: grown-ups can share two to three picture books with their child in about 20 minutes, and if done daily, that can add up to 1,000 books in just a single year! That means that even if children sign up at age four, they can still meet their goal before kindergarten begins.

The program itself is simple: as you spend time reading with your child, keep track of the number of books you share with them or that they listen to during library storytimes by coloring in a circle on the log. Each time you read a book counts toward the goal, so if your little one has a favorite that you read over and over again, each reading counts toward the goal.

Sign up at any Anchorage Public Library location or download your First Reading Log and get started today! When you finish your log, come to any Anchorage Public Library location to get your next log and a special sticker. When you finish 1,000 books, you will receive your very own Alaska-themed book to keep!

Already started your log? Find the next one you need below!


Countdown to Kindergarten

The year before kindergarten is important in helping your child feel ready and confident in starting school. There are lots of practical skills to master to be ready for success in addition to early literacy skills. Programs like Countdown to Kindergarten (C2K) will let your child practice these skills with you in a safe environment.

During the school year, the library hosts multiple C2K events at our different library branches around the city. No registration is required and attending several events is strongly encouraged! C2K is for children 3 to 5 years old with their adult caregivers, but families and siblings are welcome.

Participating children can earn free books plus other awesome prizes by attending multiple events and completing an event passport! You earn stamps on your passport by participating in C2K events or by completing the bonus challenges. Our 2024-25 passport will available at our events beginning in Fall 2024.

Countdown to Kindergarten is sponsored by the Anchorage School District. To learn more information about the program and kindergarten readiness, including ASD enrollment information, and Kindergarten Round-Up in April 2024, visit their website at: 


In-Person Events

I'm Ready for Kindergarten Storytime @ Loussac
TBD, August 2024 11AM
Z. J. Loussac Library, Learning Commons, 4th Floor

Reading Kits

The Library has themed reading kits for children ages 0-5. Each kit is a bag containing books on a theme such as "Friends," "Bugs," or "Things That Go," as well as suggested activities, tips, and a puppet or toy. Reading Kits are available at Loussac and can be requested for pick up at other APL libraries. Kits are checked out for 3 weeks and are renewable.

Read with Me Bags (ages 0-2)

  • Contain 10 board books, a toy, and early literacy tips and activities.

Lapsit Bags (ages 1-3)

  • Contain 5-6 picture books, a music CD, a puppet/toy, and ideas for fingerplays, songs and action rhymes.

Storypackets (ages 3-5)

  • Contain 8 picture and 1 nonfiction book suitable for preschoolers and a puppet/toy.

Little Sprouts Book Club Tubs (ages 0-3)

  • Contain 10 identical copies of a board book and 10 shaker eggs to be used in a group setting at home or at a childcare facility.

Raise a Reader Bags (adult caregivers of children ages 0-5)

  • Contain 5-6 continuing education/ resource books for adult caregivers of young children on a variety of early literacy topics.