Library Play Dates are community events that connect local libraries with young learners and families across the Adirondacks and Champlain Valley.
Each Library Play Date features a FREE event kit fully stocked with an event host guidebook, hands-on activities, take-home handouts, and children’s books for up to 30 kids ages 3-7.
Through the power of public media, Mountain Lake PBS promotes each event, highlighting one of our region’s most valuable community resources—public libraries. These events are part of the Mountain Lake PBS Rural Library Learning Initiative.
Library Play Date Goals
Provide free access to trusted, valuable learning experiences for young children and families across the region
Supply literacy, STEAM, and social-emotional resources that complement existing community assets
Increase visibility and visitorship for libraries through widespread promotion
Mountain Lake PBS is committed to inspiring, engaging, and enriching our community through education, creativity, and inclusivity. Library Play Dates are a valuable opportunity to partner with local libraries and community organizations, furthering our mutual goals.
Modeled after Mountain Lake PBS’ family-focused station events, each Library Play Date is based around learning standards found in PBS KIDS programming. Children and their families are introduced to an educational theme through a PBS KIDS episode screening featuring public media favorites like Curious George or Wild Kratts. After the episode, families explore a variety of self led, hands-on learning activities designed to address literacy, character building, math, science and more. At the end of the Library Play Date, each kid walks away with a free children’s book alongside new skills and friendships.
This initiative takes advantage of Mountain Lake PBS’ promotional capabilities—on-air, online, and in print—to encourage patronage while highlighting libraries as key community resources.
Library Play Date Event Kits include:
1 PBS KIDS show episode (DVD or streaming link)
1 story book for a hosted read-a-long
Up to 4 hands-on literacy or STEAM activities and crafts (including comprehensive instructions)
Take-home handouts and a free book for each child that attends
Each kit provides materials for up to 30 children, ages 3-7.
Libraries must provide:
Chairs, tables, and a suitable space for activities to take place
A device to watch the provided DVD or streaming episode
Event Kit Availability
Library Play Date Event Kits are supported through generous grant funding and corporate sponsorships. Each kit provides libraries with all the materials and instructions required to run their own event. Kit resources and activities vary based on theme and featured PBS KIDS program.
Kit availability is limited to what is currently in stock. If you are interested in hosting an event at your library, send an email to the Mountain Lake PBS Education team.
Exploring the Great Outdoors
This kit is focused on learning about and engaging with the natural world. Creativity and intellectual engagement is promoted through STEAM activities, which can be used inside and outdoors. Kit elements center around self-guided discovery of the natural environment, bioluminescence, and expanding vocabulary through related themes.
Boats, Beavers, and the Basin: Exploring Lake Champlain
Molly of Denali
This kit is focused on encouraging children and families to explore nature and learn how to be good environmental stewards. Materials provide educational connections to Indigenous Alaska Native and Mohawk cultures.
Frequently Asked Questions
What comes in a Library Play Date Event Kit?
Library Play Date Event Kits provide libraries with all the materials and instructions required to run their own event. Kit resources and activities vary based on theme and featured PBS KIDS program. For more details, see the “Learn More” section above.
Is hosting a Library Play Date free?
Yes, Library Play Dates are free for partner organizations. Event kits (materials and delivery) and promotion are provided to libraries at no cost, with event enrollment offered to families free of charge.
How do we request a Library Play Date Event Kit?
Library Play Date Kits are available through generous grant funding and corporate sponsorships. Participation in the program is limited to the number of kits currently in-stock. If you are interested in hosting a Library Play Date, send a request via email to Mountain Lake PBS Education staff.
Who hosts and supervises a Library Play Date?
Libraries are responsible for providing all staff and/or volunteers to host and supervise their Library Play Date event, including PBS KIDS episode screening, story book read-along, and all on-site activities, for the duration of the event.
All children must be accompanied by a parent, caregiver, or adult guardian.
Mountain Lake PBS staff is not available to assist or supervise during in-person events.
How long are Library Play Date Events?
Events typically last 1 to 1.5 hours. Episode screenings are roughly 20 minutes, with the remainder of the event dedicated to hands-on learning through play. Libraries may choose to host a story book read-along session prior to episode screenings (book provided in kit).
How is event registration for families conducted?
Registration for families participating in Library Play Dates is maintained by Mountain Lake PBS Education staff. Registration is offered via online form.
If you require additional in-person registration, a sign-up sheet will be provided to you. Libraries are responsible for informing Mountain Lake PBS Education staff of all in-person registrants.
How does Mountain Lake PBS help our library promote the event, and how far is your promotional reach?
Mountain Lake PBS collaborates with libraries on an individual basis to help promote their Library Play Date event. Utilizing our advanced promotional capabilities—on-air, online, and in print—we offer a variety of community outreach services.
Mountain Lake PBS reaches a wide audience through on-air (televised content) promotion in New York, Vermont, Quebec and Ontario; social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter; and provides your library with digital and printable promotional materials (i.e. video, poster).
To supply your library with all the tools necessary for a successful event, we require 4-6 weeks notice prior to scheduled event dates to implement promotional plans.
Why are there evaluation forms in my kit?
Brief evaluation forms for library staff and participating families are provided in each Library Play Date Event Kit. These forms help us gain important insight into the successes of the program as well as opportunities for improvement. We deeply value partner and community feedback.
Forms can be returned to Mountain Lake PBS Education staff via mail, email, or digital file share.