Kids loving the library

Wilton Library patrons are looking a lot younger these days.

Children aged 5 and younger represent 21% of all new library cards registered in the month of September, the traditional month for new card signups, according to Karen Zeibak, circulation services manager for the library.

During September, close to 60 Wilton Library cards were activated for children under age 5, she said. The library recently reduced its age limit for getting a card, for the first time.

“In today’s world where children are readers by the time they reach kindergarten, it seemed fitting to open up our registration to all ages. The kids are so excited to get their very first library cards,” Zeibak said. “It’s quite a sight to see them parading around with their new cards. So now all of Wilton’s children can register for new library cards at any time.”

The age cutoff used to be 5 years old.

In conjunction with Library Card Sign-Up Month in September, the Children’s Library also introduced a new initiative called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, said Janet Crystal, marketing director for the library. This nationwide program encourages parents to read to their young children to instill a lifelong love of reading at a very early age.  The program, co-sponsored by Cohen and Wolf PC and Tiger Tales Publishing, has been embraced wholeheartedly by parents. Children receive stickers, free books and certificates whenever the goals are reached.

Parents can easily fit the simple goals into their schedules, said Andrea Szabo, head of the Children’s Library at Wilton Library.

“Every time a book is read, regardless of the title or repetition, a bubble is filled in on their ‘reading log.’  After 100 books are read, the child receives a new book and a sticker.” The library has more than 70 children currently signed up since September.  “This is an evergreen program, which means that parents and their children can join in at any time and enjoy the benefits of reading and bonding together,” Szabo said.

Parents who need more information about library cards or the 1,000 Books program may visit Wilton Library’s website at or call the Children’s Library at 203-762-6336.

Beyond books

A library card gives patrons of all ages access to more than just books.

“From downloadable e-books and audiobooks to streaming movies, TV shows and music, from statewide database access to, from 3D printing to soldering, die cutting and embroidering, a Wilton Library card offers a world of discovery to everyone who walks through our doors,” Zeibak said.   

The library recently introduced six new colorful library card designs from which children and adults may choose. People may fill out their applications at the circulation desk and receive the new cards on the spot.

The library card signup initiative and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program are only the beginning for young children at Wilton Library, Crystal said.

The library offers story times for babies under 12 months, called Books for Babies, through Ready Readers for 4- and 5-year olds.

“We have board and picture book collections that are suitable for the under 5-year-old group,” Crystal said. “Great authors such as Kevin Henkes, Maurice Sendak, Mo Willems, Doreen Cronin, Robert McCloskey, Lois Ehlert, and Dr. Seuss are examples that parents are borrowing for their children. We also have wonderful seasonal and holiday picture book sections. During the year we offer Teddy Bear Picnics, Ambler Farm Reads programs at the farm, and as the children age, we offer a Mother/Daughter book group for grades 3 to 5, Tales to Tails for independent readers and more.”