Libraries are one of the greatest resources available to children. One of the greatest libraries in the greater Pittsburgh area is Shaler North Hills Library. Located north of the city, easily accessible from routes 28 & 8. Located on Mt. Royal Blvd with a bright sign flashing all the activities the library has to offer.
Shaler North Hills Library became one of my favorite spots after an encounter 5 years ago with a fellow nanny in the park. I wasn’t familiar with the north hills and this nanny told me to check them out because they have the best staff in the city. She wasn’t wrong. The staff at Shaler North Hills library is not only knowledgeable but, incredibly warm and silly. They know exactly how to interact with children of all ages, from infants to Senior High.
I cannot say enough about Ingrid Kalchthaler (Miss Ing). She is the Youth Services Coordinator and she is a superstar. Not only does she put on the most exuberant story time in town, but she demonstrates how reading can be fun. Every week she introduces a new letter by dancing around to techno alphabet jams with letter cutouts with the children. Thankfully the story times take place in the large multi-purpose room. Otherwise, I don’t know how we could jam out about the letter A. There’s always books, counting and singing ABCs. Ingrid adds her own spin by singing silly songs about “Johnny and his multiple hammers” to teach about counting. It’s an amazing space and children adore it. Miss Ing also brings the heat with Dance Party on Thursday mornings at 10:15am. Dance Party is just that… Toddlers and Preschoolers rocking out to The Wiggles, Yo! Gabba Gabba and Laurie Berkner. I never draw tired watching toddlers dance to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake.
Miss Penny hosts Book Babies for the youngest crowd on Tuesday Mornings at 10:15. She has a calming demeanor that is perfect for the young ones. She reads short books, sings songs and has toys for the babies to discover. Fridays, Miss Penny teaches toddler and preschoolers Music Adventures. It’s a loosely-structured class that allows the kids to try out various instruments from drums, bells, tambourines and xylophones. Music Adventures takes place on Friday Mornings at 10:45.
Rebekah Alessandria is geared towards early literacy. She is a wonderful storyteller for the Friday Morning Preschool Express at 10:15. Rebekah brings the books to life with her never ending energy and goofy demeanor. She engages the children with her silly songs about Baby Shark or bubblegum getting stuck in her belly button. She is a wonderful resource for book suggestions. Miss Rebekah also hosts Parachute Play Mondays at 10:45. I still have the song “Alabama, Mississippi” stuck in my head months later. The children learn to follow directions and work together while tossing a stuffed alligator up in the air or blasting off to the moon!
Shaler North Hills Library got it right by locating the children’s department alone on the top floor. The entire second floor is dedicated to Children and Teens. The amount of books is staggering. Not only do they have countless titles but, thousands of suggestions for ages, interests and education. It’s unbelievable how much there is for the children to read! Toddlers and babies can grab board books from the turtles on the floor. Preschoolers have endless titles to choose from like Pete the Cat, Piggie and Elephant and Madeline. Bob Books are available for emerging readers. It doesn’t end there. School Age and Teens have their own rooms filled with novels and classics.
The playroom is unbelievable! There is something for every child ranging from a Lego table, baby dolls, kitchen, trucks and dinosaurs. Countless puzzles are scattered throughout the room. There’s a brand new dollhouse allow children to interact with one another. Parents can sit on the couches and read to their kids. It’s a fantastic space for little ones to learn how to parallel play. I can say that my nanny kids and I have spent many rainy, cold and snowy days tinkering with toys in the playroom for hours.
I cannot say enough about Shaler North Hills Library. I’ve been a nanny for over a decade all over the city and suburbs. Shaler North Hills Library is the only library where I feel kids can be kids. The librarians don’t shush the kids for being too loud. In fact, they encourage kids to be loud and silly. That’s why I highly recommend you make the drive with your kids to check out this phenomenal library!
For more information about Shaler North Hills Library and their remarkable programs for children:
1822 Mt. Royal Blvd.
Glenshaw, PA 15116
(editor disclosure: this is not a sponsored advertisement.)