Ahh, libraries! They are the traditional source for FREE summer programs aimed at kids. Story hour is the classic, but these days, libraries also bring in outside guests such as musicians, magicians, authors, and others to liven things up.

Keep in mind that story hour isn't the only reason to go to a library. Just giving kids the chance to browse the stacks, search the online catalog, or surf the web can provide an hour or two of fun—and be highly educational. Children can also get a library card, and with a card in hand, they can check out thousands of books, magazines, videotapes, CDs and DVDs—all FREE of charge.

Milwaukee County
The libraries in Milwaukee County offer a treasure chest full of FREE kid-oriented activities and opportunities. There are 28 libraries in the system, one in nearly every community in the county. Throughout the year—and particularly in the summer—all of them offer FREE programs aimed at kids.

Start by looking at, which is all about the library’s Summer Reading Club. This club helps kids get into the habit of reading by offering incentives and rewards. Just by reading books, kids can earn coupons that will get them into a number of local attractions FREE of charge, including the Wisconsin State Fair, Discovery World, the Milwaukee Zoo and more. Contact your local library for a brochure. The summer program starts Mid May, but kids can join almost all summer long.

There are two good ways to find out what else is happening at a nearby library: call the children's librarian OR go online to This is the Milwaukee Public Library home page. It contains links to the home pages of nearly all the other libraries in the system.

Each local library's home page contains information about their children's programming, along with the dates and times.

This web site, is a fantastic resource that can lead users to more activities than they could do all summer. Be sure to check out the Kid Zone and Teen Scene web pages.

This web site also links to the Milwaukee County Federated Library System's online catalog. Using the online catalog, a child can search all the materials in all 28 libraries at one time, then request and check out almost anything they find.

For more information, call the Central Library Children's Room, (414) 286-3091, or the Central Library's Communications Department, (414) 286-2572, or visit

Waukesha County
Just like the Milwaukee System, Waukesha County Libraries offer tremendous resources and children’s programs. You can link to all but two of the libraries in Waukesha County through the Waukesha County Federated Library System web site. Select any library from this site's main page, then select "Catalog Search," then, when the user is asked "which library," choose "ALL."

The Waukesha County Federated Library System web site also has links to all the other libraries in Waukesha County.

For more information, call (262) 896-8080, or visit