Check out our exciting new Book Match service, our different reading lists, award winners, and our Play and Learn Preschool eNewsletter Sign-up.


Play & Learn Preschool Newsletter

Preschool LearningCheck out Play & Learn, our newsletter for families with preschoolers.  Sign up for this informative monthly e-newsletter,  designed to help caregivers grow their children's literacy skills. 

Kindergarten Readiness

Check out The Kindergarten Readiness Handbook for activities that can improve your child's school readiness skills. To request a kit please fill out this form. A valid AMPL card is needed. 

 1000 Books Before Kindergarten

This program encourages families to reach the goal of reading 1,000 books together before your child begins Kindergarten.

Each book you read together helps build an early learning foundation that can help your child:

  • Develop language
  • Increase attention spans
  • Expand vocabulary
  • Improve listening skills

Most importantly, by reading together, you are instilling a lifelong love for reading in your child.

How It Works:

  • Any child with an Alsip-Merrionette Park library card may sign up.
  • Infants through almost-Kindergartners can sign up.
  • Sign-up at the Youth Services Desk to receive your 1,000 books folder.
  • Each time you read a book together, color in a circle on your reading log.
  • Every 200 books, visit the Youth Services Desk for a prize!
  • You can read the same book 1,000 times or you can read 1,000 different books.
  • Books read in storytime and at preschool all count!

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an ongoing program. All prizes, however, must be redeemed before your child’s first day of Kindergarten. 

Just for You! Website

Need help finding your next great read? Try our Just for You website! Whether you like picture books, beginning readers, novels, or non-fiction, this website has it all! Once you find the perfect title for you, click on the book's cover to go to the library's catalog and place a hold. If you don't know what you want to read, take our "What Should I Read Next?" quiz for a suggestion! Click here to visit our website and get started!

 Book Match Service

Are you not sure what to read next? Let us find your new favorite book with our Book Match service! Fill out this form and tell us all about what books you do and do not like. Then, a librarian will email you back a list of books we know you will love! It's never been easier to find that next great book. This service is for kids in grades K-8 with valid AMPL cards in good standing in their own names. If you have any questions, please contact the Youth Services Department.

Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award

The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award is an annual award given to the author of the book voted most outstanding by students in grades four through eight in participating Illinois schools.

The award is named in honor of Rebecca Caudill who lived and wrote in Urbana, Illinois, for nearly 50 years. The award is given in recognition for her literary talent and the universal appeal of her books which have touched the hearts of many children and young adults.

Any school in Illinois with students enrolled in any of the grades four through eight and agreeing to meet the requirements may participate in the program. Any public library in Illinois serving students in grades four through eight (from schools that are not registered to participate) and agreeing to meet the requirements, may participate in the program.

To view the current master list click here.

Kids State Awards 

Monarch Award:  Illinois' K-3rd Reader's Choice Award

In the summer of 2002, several past presidents of ISLMA discussed the need for a K-3 children's book award. The ISLMA Board established a work group to investigate creation of such an award. In April 2003, ISLMA approved the establishment and support of The Monarch Award: Illinois' K-3 Readers' Choice Award.

The name Monarch was chosen because of its familiarity to K-3 children and to symbolize the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings. The Monarch is designed to encourage children to read critically and become familiar with children's books, authors and illustrators. The program is open to all K-3 children in Illinois. 

To view the current list of nominees click here.

Bluestem Award: Illinois' Grades 3-5 Readers' Choice Award

In the spring of 2008, the ISLMA board approved establishing a committee to explore the possibility of a new book award that would fit between the Monarch and Rebecca Caudill Awards. Interested library media specialists met in June, and an outline of the proposed new award was presented to the board in August. In September, a survey about the new award was conducted, and 92% of respondents favored the creation of a new award. At their October meeting, the ISLMA board approved the Bluestem Book Award.

The award is designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles. Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award may include both timeless classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists.  

To view the most recent list of nominees click here.

Newbery Winners

The Newbery Medal was named for John Newbery. It is given by the Association of Library Service for Children each year to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Click here to learn more about this award and see a list of winners.

Caldecott Winners

The Caldecott Medal was named for Randolph Caldecott. It is given by the Association of Library Service for Children each year to the artist of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for Children. Click here to learn more about this award and see a list of winners.

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