News Detail

Children's Library

Children's Library

Address:   1276 Harriet Street  Palo Alto, CA 94301
Hours:       Mon: 12 noon - 6 pm;  Tues & Wed: 10 am - 6 pm
                Thurs: 12 noon - 6 pm;  Fri & Sat: 10 am - 5 pm;  Sun: 1 pm - 5 pm


The Children's Library serves children from birth through 5th grade with a collection that includes picture books, beginning readers, classic and contemporary children's fiction and a broad non-fiction collection for general interest and homework help.  The children's librarians can assist with reader's advisory, research, and curriculum support.  Media collections and children's magazines are available for checkout.  Regular toddler and preschool programs are scheduled as well as programs for babies and school-age children.  The library has internet stations, a preschool computer and wireless access.

Travel Instructions
HIGHWAY 101 (North & South): Take the Embarcadero Road West exit (northbound travelers turn left; southbound travelers turn right). Turn right at the light at Newell Rd. Take the first left which is Hopkins. Hopkins dead ends at Harriet. The Children's Library is the first building on the left as you turn onto Harriet.

HIGHWAY 280 (North & South): Take the Page Mill Road exit (northbound travelers turn right; southbound travelers turn left). Continue on Page Mill which will become Oregon Expressway. Turn left onto Middlefield, then right at the light at Melville. Turn right on Parkinson, and right again on Harriet. The library is at the end of the street on the right.

FROM DOWNTOWN PALO ALTO: Head south on Middlefield. Turn left on Melville, right on Parkinson, and right again on Harriet Street. The library is at the end of the block on the right.

BUS ROUTE: #35 bus runs down Middlefield from Menlo Park to south Palo Alto. Get off at Melville, and walk through the Lucie Stern Community Center. The library is behind it.

PARKING: There is on-street parking in front of the library on Harriet Street and in the parking lot shared by the Junior Museum & Zoo and the Children's Theatre between Hopkins Street and Middlefield Road.

History of the Children's Library
The Children's Library, the oldest free standing children's library in the country, was designed by noted local architects Birge and David Clark and built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.  The original building was built and furnished through a donation from Lucie Stern in honor of her daughter, Ruth. 

Featuring a hand-molded Mission tile roof, a charming fireplace tiled with scenes from fairy tales, child-sized furnishings, and a brick-wall enclosed Secret Garden reminiscent of the one in Frances Burnett's story of the same name; the library has been a family destination for generations.

In December 2005, the first major renovation in 65 years began on this historic building and the doors re-opened on September 29, 2007.  The updated Children's Library is not only charming and respectful of its heritage, but strives to be a vibrant learning and entertainment center for children. 

Two new wings have been built that add nearly 2500 square feet for programming and collections.  You will find delightful art work, fun furnishings, comfortable seating, up-to-date computer access, a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, and an expanded collection of books and media.  The new Tree Top Room, opening onto the renovated Secret Garden, is a welcoming space for children's programs or for sitting quietly reading by the fountain.

Last Updated: March 31, 2007