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A Parent's Guide to the Clayton County Library System

Welcome to the Clayton County Library System! The staff members at our six libraries look forward to helping you and your children with all your needs, whether your children are working on school projects or reading for fun.

Books & Magazines

Our libraries have a wide selection of books for all ages. We have books with sturdy cardboard pages for infants and toddlers, picture books to be read aloud, books for beginning readers, fiction for youth in grades 3-5, nonfiction for preschool-grade 5, plus a separate "Young Adult" collection for teens ages 12-18. Both the children's and young adult collections include some popular fiction, manga, and graphic novels (comics in book format).

In addition, each library has magazines for children that may be read in the library, with some older issues that may be checked out. The Forest Park, Lovejoy, Morrow, and Headquarters Library also have a separate collection of current and past issues of magazines of interest to teens that may be read in the libraries.

And don't forget ebooks and audiobooks! Check out TumbleBooks (online, narrated picture books), Sesame Street Online Books (online, narrated picture books), TumbleBookCloud Junior (online books and audiobooks for elementary-school kids), and TumbleBookCloud (online books and audiobooks for teens).

Finding Books for Specific Reading Levels

Most of the Clayton County schools make their Accelerated Reading lists available online, and we link to these lists from our Clayton Kids - Accelerated Reading page.

Please note that there is a difference between the reading level (book level) BL and the interest level of a book. See an explanation of the differences.

We also recommend using the Lexile Book Finder to find books for a particular reading level. If you do not know your child's Lexile measure, you can estimate it by using the online tool on the site or by entering a book that you know is the appropriate level and seeing what the Lexile measure for that book is.

Homework Resources

Juvenile Reference Collection

Each library has an excellent collection of Reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) that can only be used in the library. Please ask staff to assist in finding what is needed. Reference books cannot be checked out, but photocopies may be made for a fee of $0.15 per page, and individual pages can be scanned using the library's photocopiers and saved to a flash drive or sent to an email as a PDF attachment. Students should remember to photocopy the front and back of the book's title page if they need to create a bibliography for their project.

Online Reference Resources and Learning Tools

The library provides access to a comprehensive collection of research databases and online books and magazines through a statewide system called GALILEO. Learn how to find the current password.

The library has some excellent online juvenile reference books that may be accessed through GALILEO. These e-books are listed by subject under the Homework Resources section of our Clayton Kids page. Other useful online databases to which the library subscribes in order to provide free access to the public include BrainFuse (free online tutoring!) and Mango Languages (Spanish, Japanese, French, English for Spanish Speakers, and Chinese). If your student needs could use some academic practice in various subjects, then use Learning Express, an online collection of practice tests and tutorials for grades 4-adult. Be sure to have the student assign himself/herself a password so you can track their progress!

What if the library doesn't have a book or information that a child is looking for?

Ask a staff person to see if another Clayton County or PINES library has the book, or if the information is available online through GALILEO. If another library has a book you need, you may place a hold on it and it will be delivered to your local library for free.

If library staff cannot find the information or book specifically required for a school assignment, please ask the staff to complete and sign the "Assignment Feedback" form that you can then give to the child's teacher.

You and your children are encouraged to make suggestions for additional subjects, titles, authors, or programs. You may put these suggestions in the suggestion box at any branch, or tell the library staff.

The Library's Web Site

The Library's "Clayton Kids" Page

This page is a great help to families. If you need to keep kids from getting bored, try the links to various fun, educational games in the "Just for fun" section. To help your students with homework, look at the links in the "Homework" section. For some great book recommendations for children and teens, authors' sites, and reading-related sites, go to "Books." Also under "Books," click on TumbleBooks to gain free access to over 120 online animated picture books, available in English, Spanish & French with extended questions and activities. Also available - TumbleBook Cloud Junior (online books, audiobooks, and National Georgraphic videos for elementary school kids) and Sesame Street Ebooks featuring all your favorite Sesame Street characters! For assistance finding the Accelerated Reader list for your child's school or just good books to read for a particular reading level, go to the "Books" section.

The Library's "TCC" (Teens of Clayton County) Page

This part of our site provides lots of resources of interest to teens, as well as book recommendations, first-line quotes from Young Adult books, information about upcoming teen events and new book releases, and opportunities for teens to show off and display their own artwork and writing and to recommend books they like to other Clayton County teens. Also available - TumbleBookCloud, online books and audiobooks for teens, including young adult fiction, classics, Shakespeare, graphic novels, and more.

Teen Zone

The Forest Park Branch Library has a special area dedicated for use by teens 12-18. This area houses the Young Adult books, has computers and a quiet homework area, a gaming console and large-screen TV, and study tables. Teens may also borrow board games, cards, and art supplies from the Youth Services desk to use in the Teen Zone.

Computers for Children and Teens

Each of our libraries has a section of computers set aside for use only by youth under age 18.

Game Computers

The "games" computers have been loaded with a selection of educational software games. A library card is not needed to use these computers, but you or your child must sign up on the reservation sheet at the staff desk.

Internet-Access Computers

The Headquarters Library has four computers with Internet access that can be reserved by youth under 18 only. Youth are also permitted to use the "PC Reservation System" to reserve time on any computer in the general library section. Each child or teen under age 18 MUST present his/her own library card in order to reserve any computer with Internet access. In order to comply with the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), staff will scan each youth's card and will only allow youth whose parents have approved Internet access on the youth's library card application to use the Internet-access computers. The library will not accept verbal permission, phone permission, or written notes brought in by the youth. Youth may not use someone else's card, including a parent's or sibling's card, or Internet access will be denied. However, a parent may opt to sit beside a child or teen who wants to access the Internet but who doesn't have his/her own card.

Children and teens may sign up on the reservation sheet for another session after their first session has ended, with a total of 120 minutes maximum allowed daily. The library uses a filter and blocks sites known to be inappropriate for a public library setting. Any parent who sees a library patron accessing a site that seems inappropriate should speak to a staff member. As long as the user follows the library's Internet Use Policy, the library will not monitor any youth's Internet session. A parent may do so if he or she wishes.

See also, Library Policies on Computer and Internet use.

Library Programs and Special Events

All library programs are free. In order to assist parents in planning visits to library programs, most programs list a recommended audience age. Programs include story times for toddlers and preschoolers, 'Baby Talk' programs for parents or caregiver adults to attend with infants and toddlers (newborns to age 20 months), themed programs for both preschoolers and elementary-school age children, board game clubs, and special programs designed for teens. Most of our libraries show movies on a big-screen-type theatre system and allow the public to bring their own library-appropriate snacks. These programs are a great way for families to spend some quality time together without spending any money. Most of the programs require advance registration to help the staff plan the program. Many programs fill up quickly so register early! Ask to be placed on a waiting list if a specific program is full. Parents may attend programs at any of the county's six public libraries and are not restricted to the closest library. The library encourages families to extend the learning experience of the library program, by ongoing follow-up discussions and activities. A list of the books read will be distributed after most story times in case parents and children want to check out the highlighted books. Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter and learn about other ways to get notified of upcoming events.

Summer Reading Program

Each year, the Summer Reading Program encourages children and teens to read during the summer. The library's goal is to encourage youth to become Lifelong Readers. Youth who read for fun usually continue reading as adults. Like other learned skills, the more a person reads, the better reader he or she becomes. Studies have shown that youth who read during the summer maintain or improve their reading skills, whereas the reading skills of students who don't read during the summer frequently decline. The Summer Reading Program usually begins the day after school lets out, and continues through the end of August. Contact the library for information about specific summer incentives and programs. Pre-readers, as well as older children, may also participate by having books read aloud to them. Special needs children may be flexible in the ways they participate.

You can also help encourage your child to read over the summer by participating in the Adult Summer Reading Program through the Headquarters Library and showing your child that reading is fun.

Help Your Children Have a Great Visit to the Library

Before coming to the library, please remind your children that many other people will also be using the library, and that some of them need quiet in order to study or read. Ask them to be respectful of other people in the library. Also remind them that they should not run because it's not safe. Please encourage children and teens to ask staff to help them find either information they need, or to recommend some good books to read. Tell children to ask a library staff person for help if they ever feel unsafe or worried for any reason.

Important Things for Parents to Know

All library materials are available to users of all ages. It is the parent's responsibility to decide what is appropriate for his/her family and for a specific child. In addition to considering the reading level of materials, a parent should also consider the content and maturity level of materials.

In order to protect the privacy of library users, the library will not give out information about materials checked out, overdue items, etc. on a child's card to anyone except to the parent, the legal guardian, or the child.

Library staff members are very busy assisting many library patrons and performing a variety of job-related tasks. Staff members cannot be responsible for watching anyone's children. For the children's safety, parents are urged to keep young children near them. Older children should be reminded to tell you which area of the library they plan to use. Parents may bring laptops into the children's area in order to be near their children, or may take puzzles, books or activity sheets to any other area of the library in order to keep a child occupied. Per library policy, children under age 8 may not be in the library without a responsible adult. If children under age 8 are in the library unaccompanied, the library may call the authorities. Youth under age 15 must be picked up by the library's closing time. The police will be called to transport youth remaining at the library beyond 15 minutes after closing.

Except at specific programs, parents should not allow children to bring food or drinks into the library.

See also, Library Policy Regarding Children.