IN THIS POST: Encourage a love of reading with these delightful picture books about libraries. Ranging from informative to funny, biographical to comical, these 20 picture books will entertain and inspire readers young and old.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a picture book round-up. Some of my favorite posts of this kind are from the early days of my blog – Picture Books About Quilts and Picture Books About Shoes. Even though my girls are past this reading level, I still love to read picture books. When they make it into my library stack we inevitably read through a few of them together.
Nevertheless, picture books are geared toward a younger audience. The younger years are the perfect time to nurture their love of reading with picture books about libraries!
I had great fun developing this list. I re-read familiar titles and searched for recommended new-to-me books. Plus, I got to visit our library a lot! Win!
Library Picture Books: Fiction
Sweet, and strong, and super, and even barbaric characters fill these pages. Be warned: there be dragons and cute animals (but not in the same books!).
Melvin enthusiastically spends all his time at the local library after school and the librarians become trusted resources for all his questions. In high school he gets a part-time job and eventually becomes a librarian himself. A fun story about a curious boy, but really this book is a celebration of all librarians who nurture curiosity and wonder.
Bunny hears stories from the librarian when she hosts story times outside. But when the stories go inside during the fall and winter Bunny can’t figure out how to keep reading. Until he discovers the return box! Soon furry friends are sneaking through the library at night to get books to read. But eventually the librarian finds out – will they still be able to read?
After reviewing all the ways that a dragon in the library would be bad for everyone, the resourceful librarian comes up with a solution so the little boy can make sure his dragon doesn’t miss out on all the good stories. But also, a good rule in general.
Rhythmic writing tells the story of Elizabeth Brown who reads and reads and reads. She walks into doors, forgets to buy groceries, and eventually purchases so many books that she can’t use her front door. She continues to love reading but finds a generous way to share her passion with others.
More dragon fun in this book! The new school librarian has some strict rules about how a library should work, but no one else appreciates them. Since she’s a fire-blowing dragon, however, she gets away with them. Then one little girl comes in and begins reading a book out loud while the other children listen. The new librarian considers this and slowly begins to change.
A young girls reads so many books that she builds up her brain and her upper body strength. When she becomes the local librarian she converts the community to reading. But then she faces a motorcycle gang that has no interest in reading. Using her brains and her braun, Lil is well-prepared for this challenge.
Fortitude and Patience are the lion statues who guard the New York Public Library. One almost-morning, Fortitude wakes up to find Patience missing. The lion goes into the New York Public Library and encounters interesting sights along the way. Eventually he finds Patience in the children’s section. They return safely before the sun rises, but when the next evening comes, Fortitude wants to go into the library with Patience to read more books.
What can the world do when an evil villain threatens to release moths to eat all the world’s books? Send in…Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian. Her unusual methods for stopping the villain rely on resourcefulness and getting the right book into the right hands at the right time. A comic-book-esque story and illustrations create a humorous take on a librarian’s super-powers.
A sweet story of a girl who manages a library at midnight for all the animals of the forest. She helps the squirrels find a song for their band, reads the happy ending of a story with Mrs. Wolf, and gives a tortoise a library card so he can take his 500-page book home and read it there. All in a day’s work. The simple three-color illustrations give the pages a cheery nighttime vibe and children will enjoy the various animals checking out books.
The library is going to close forever! The other animals move into action to save their library. Time and again they face the challenges of the library by consulting the books for strategies and how-to advice. A story about a community saving a library and considering all the ways that a library serves the community.
The tale of an unlikely convert to reading: Ronan the barbarian. He then takes his new-found passion to create more unlikely converts to books. It’s not easy to convince the other barbarians, but Ronan doesn’t give up. Fun illustrations bring this story to life.
What starts with Louella searching frantically at home for her lost library book ends with the entire town standing behind her as she confesses to the librarian. Don’t worry – there’s a happy ending!
Library Picture Books: Non-Fiction
These picture books about libraries are less about the buildings and more about the librarians. Consider all the creative and passionate methods people have used to share books with communities around the world.
When Luis accumulates more books than his house can hold, what should he do? Share, of course! With his two trusty donkeys he brings books and reading to children around Colombia.
No list of picture books about libraries would be complete without this fantastic exploration of libraries. Learn about the biggest library in the world (The Library of Congress) and a small, one-room library on Ocracoke Island of North Carolina. Explore libraries from New York to California, a library for the blind and a library of tools. I love that she includes Home Libraries as the last category!
Another noteworthy book by author Jeanette Winter. When war comes to Iraq, librarian Alia is singularly concerned that the 30,000 books in her care will be destroyed. Using the resources and community around her, she develops a plan to keep the books safe from searches and air raids.
New librarian RoseAleta Laurell thinks the children’s section of her library is a disgrace. She is not one to sit around and think, ‘Oh well, nevermind, too bad!” RoseAleta recognizes the situation is too dire for a simple bake sale to fix it. Instead, she gets to the top of the library’s roof and says she’s staying there until they raise the money. A heroic story of a creative librarian.
Miss Dorothy was destined to be a librarian from a young age, and she made it! Then she got married and they moved to a place without a library. As Dorothy shares her love of reading with local readers they agree that a library is needed. It starts as a bookmobile and ends as a donated-house-converted-to-a-library. The sweet notes at the end from people who had benefited from her librarian services were a fitting tribute.
Miss Anne Carroll Moore was NOT on board with the idea that children didn’t need books and certainly shouldn’t be allowed in the library. Her pioneering vision brought a bright and cheery children’s room to the New York Public Library complete with artwork, windows, and borrowing privileges. She forever changed the landscape of libraries in the U.S.
When Pura Belpré came to the U.S. in 1921 she brought with her the folktales of Puerto Rico. When she started as a bilingual assistant at the New York Public Library she also started sharing her stories. She was an advocate for bilingual literature and the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. A beautiful story with lovely illustrations.
A librarian welcomes Tomás into the library with a glass of water and a seat. While his family works in the fields, Tomás reads stories and exchanges English/Spanish words with the librarian. Based on a true story.
Build Your Home or School Library
What other great picture books about libraries have you found? Any favorites for your young readers? Let me know in the comments so I can add to my reading list!
If you’re looking for other picture book suggestions, check out the posts below listed by theme.