We are spoiled; the libraries in Fairfax county are some of the best in the nation! It does however, take a bit of effort to look up, schedule, and reserve spots for the programs. I usually seek out the childrens events that are a little more unusual than typical story times. These often occur randomly and I’ve never been disappointed with these events.
We especially seek out the library events at Fairfax City, Tysons Pimmit and Great Falls libraries. These libraries always seem to do events out of the norm. The Fairfax County Library website has an option where you can search events by location (or if you’re an Our Kids member, all the events are listed in the members calendar). If you’re not a member, go to: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/events/ and click on “calendar of events.” I choose “All LOCATIONS” but focus on “PRESCHOOL” and “SCHOOL AGE” categories.
One of our favorite monthly Fairfax City library programs is called “Sweetchills.” The event is NOT at the library but across the street. The energetic librarians meet the children in downtown Fairfax City at a darling frozen yogurt shop with the same name “Sweetchills.” Sponsored by the library, the librarians read stories that are geared towards 8 years old and younger, often use costumes, magic or puppets. The best part? Every child gets a free ice cream cone before they leave! This event is never crowded and usually occurs in the afternoon. No reservation is required but you must keep your eye on the library event website or www.sweetchills.us to find out what day it will occur.
Another unusual event we attended at the Tysons Pimmit library was called “A Princess Party.” It was on a Saturday morning. The librarian stood at the door and admitted only those with an online reservation. Three stations were set up around the room by the Marshall High School Cosmetology Class. The girls could rotate between getting their nails done, getting an updo and face painting. The students and instructors were energetic, patient and well prepared with smocks, nails polish and special shimmer stickers for the kids’ faces. Many girls were dressed in princess dresses. The event was casual, well run and punctual.
We have also been to the reptile show twice, at the Great Falls library branch. The most recent show was on a snowy day. No one checked reservations at the door but it was not overly crowded. The reptile handler was from Hidden Oaks Nature Center. He was energetic and passionate about teaching the children about the reptiles. He brought 2 types of snakes, 2 toads and turtles. He allowed the children to touch all the animals. We hung around after the show and he allowed many of the children to hold the reptiles without assistance. We left educated and excited about reptiles!
Our most chaotic library experience was at the Thomas Jefferson branch in Falls Church. We registered for a Valentines Cake Pop and Chocolate Demo. It was scheduled after the popular weekly Tuesday chess club. The librarians did not empty the room before allowing the demo to begin so all of the chess club children stayed, no reservations were checked, and it started 10 minutes early and was messy! Children were given free reign of the supplies and parents who walked in on time and registered were too late. Honestly though, my kids didn’t mind the chaos or disorder and made about 4 cake pops.
In summary, the reservation process for Fairfax County Library programs can be a hassle. Many times the programs get filled the day they open to the public (always 2 weeks prior at 10am). However, this system helps keep the programs within capacity. If you can register in time and be 15 minutes early, you can typically expect an excellent library program that won’t disappoint. And as always, keep in mind, library programs are FREE.
Photos by Andrea Verwys