Early Learning

The Marshall-Lyon County Library is dedicated to helping your young child learn, grown and engage the world.  We have created a one-stop resource for children and parents alike in the Robert L. and Phyllis Carr Children’s Library in Marshall. Many materials and tools can be found at our Balaton and Cottonwood branches as well.

The children’s collection, activities, services, and programs focus these elements of early learning, which are essential for brain development and preparing a child for reading:

  1. Talking — Listening to voices and other sounds are the first and most elemental ways in which children begin to understand and engage the world around them.  They are learning vocabulary and sounds while making connections between what they see and hear.
  2. Singing — Along with rhyming, singing allows children to hear language and vocabulary in new ways, including the small parts of words and the different sounds that make up words.
  3. Reading — Still the most critical element of early learning, reading together continues to build a child’s vocabulary along with general knowledge and understanding of the world.
  4. Writing — Reading and writing go hand-in-hand, making connections between what words and pictures a child has seenn in a book to exploring the creation of similar pictures and scribbles.  Working with crayons, pens, pencils, markers, or keyboards reinforces the concept of writing or drawing whether on paper or screen.
  5. Playing — Children get to know and understand the world, as well as their place in it, through play.  It is also a creative outlet for the exploration of social and emotional skills.

The Library engages children in a variety of these elements in each of our storytimes and other programs for young children.  We can also help you discover books and activities for you to engage your child at home, too!

Storytimes for Early Learners

Click here to view all upcoming storytimes at Marshall, Balaton, and Cottonwood. These times are subject to change. The most up-to-date listings are available on our events calendar.

  • Mother Goose Storytime:  For newborns through 36 months (3 years), Mondays @ 10:15 am (school year) or 10:00 am (summer) in Marshall
  • Alphabet Storytime:  (School year only) For children ages 3 to 6, Thursdays @ 10:15 am in Marshall
  • Music, Movement, & Stories: (on hiatus for fall 2021) For toddlers and kindergarteners, Wednesdays @ 10:15 am in Marshall
  • Family Storytime: Fourth Saturday of each month @ 10:30 am.
  • Summer Learning Program events: Events vary by age group and library. Visit the Summer Reading Program page for more information during the summer months.

Other Early Learning Resources and Activities

  • Early Literacy Computers: Operating in either English or Spanish, these stations our designed for children ages 2-8 with over 4,000 activities that focus on math, science & nature, social studies & geography, reading, art & music, writing & computer skills, and reference.  Located in all buildings.
  • Puzzles, Puppets, and Cake Pans: The Library has more than books that can be checked out!  These can be a spark for early learning activities at home.
  • Parents Collection: For your convenience, books for parents of developing learners are available within the Children’s library in a special collection.