The Library for Under 5s

Children can have their own library card from the day they are born

It's free to join and to borrow books, you can't start too soon!

A great choice of board books, picture books and toys in all our libraries to share with your little one. Fun activities like Totstimes, Storytimes and Craft Clubs to enjoy.

Bookstart BabyBookstart treasure

Library Information for parents

Research shows that sharing stories and rhymes gives a child the best start to learning and reading becomes an enjoyable skill for life.

10 minutes reading a day can dramatically improve your child's lifelong language, literacy and numeracy skills.  Belonging to a library opens up a wealth of free books, information and skills for families to enjoy.

There are Parents Collections in all Nottingham City Libraries with useful books on child development, play, healthy food, sleep and entertaining your child.

There are board books suitable for babies and toddlers and don't worry there is no replacement charge if the books get damaged on an Under 5s card.

There are also no overdues or reservation fees to pay until they reach 18.

After school activities for 4 year olds

Regular after school drop-in sessions during term time, run by staff and trained volunteers: 

Reading Champions for ages 4 - 16:

  • gain confidence with independent reading by reading aloud to staff or volunteers
  • get reading diaries signed

Games Club all ages welcome:

  • board and card games for everyone to enjoy

Locations and times (run in term time only):

Aspley Library  Wednesdays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions and Games Club

Bilborough Library Tuesdays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions

Clifton Library Thursdays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Games Club

Dales Centre Library Mondays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions and Games Club

Meadows Library Mondays and Fridays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions

Sherwood Library Wednesdays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions and Games Club

Southglade Park Library Wednesdays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions and Games Club

Strelley Road Library Mondays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Reading Champions and Fridays 3.30pm to 5.30pm Games Club

Totstime and Play sessions

Totstime sessions for babies and toddlers run in all libraries with stories, rhymes, music and movement. Join in the singing, have fun with your child exploring language music and books.

Children's Centre Staff also run play sessions for toddlers in some libraries.

child with library toys

Library Activity Days and times
Aspley   Totstime Friday 2pm to 2.30pm


Messy Play

Tuesday 10.30am to 11am

Thursday 10.45am to 12pm

Bilborough              Totstime Mondays 2pm to 2:30pm
Bulwell Riverside Totstime Monday 10.30am to 11am
Clifton Totstime Tuesday 10.30am to 11am
Dales Centre Totstime

Monday 2pm to 2.30pm

Wednesdays at 10.30am to 11am

Hyson Green Totstime Wednesday 10.30am to 11am
Meadows Totstime Friday 10.30am to 11am
Nottingham Central Totstime Thursday 10.45am to 11.15am
Radford Lenton      Totstime Please speak with staff
St Ann's Valley Centre   Totstime Tuesday 11.15am to 11.45am
Sherwood            Totstime

 Friday 11.15am to 11.45am 

 Friday 2pm to 2.30pm

Adults and over 1s will require a free ticket available from the library counter 30 minutes before the session commences

Southglade Park Totstime  Wednesday 10 am to 10.30am
Strelley Road



 Wednesday 9.30am to 10am


Tuesday 10.30am to 11am

Tuesday 2.30pm to 3pm

Adults and over 1s  require a free ticket available from the library counter 30 minutes before the session commences

Children with sight loss

  • Giant Print and Braille picture books at Nottingham Central Library and Hyson Green Library
  • Penpal to use with a special collection of dual language picture books at Hyson Green Library. Penpal provides an audio version, in human voice, of the text when the pen touches each page. This can also be easily changed to read in different languages so is useful to parents or children with sight loss, children learning to read or children and families where English is not their first language

Giant print braillePenpalPenpal

Nottingham Bookstart

Every child in Nottingham is entitled to two Bookstart packs:

  1. 'Bookstart Baby' gifted at 6 to 8 weeks by a Health Visitor
  2. 'Bookstart Treasure' gifted to 3 to 4 year olds by their nursery or pre-school

For more information visit the Bookstart website
Collect your free Bookstart Bears Reading Adventure story sticker book for under 5s at your local library.

Contact us:
Nottingham Bookstart,
Aspley Library,
Nuthall Road,

Email: charlotte.blount@nottinghamcity.gov.uk  Tel: 0115 915 2844

bookstart logo

Nottingham Children's Book Award

Launched in 2001 and targeted at preschool children since 2008 the award aims to get young children excited about reading.

Click the link to read more about this Book Award and to take part!


The winner of the Nottingham Children’s Book Award 2018 was..

Neon Leon by Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup

(published by Nosy Crow) Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup have written and illustrated well over 100 books between them. They won with 38% of the vote.

The runners up were:

Bedtime with Ted by Sophy Henn (published by Bloomsbury)

Giraffe and Frog by Zehra Hicks (published by Two Hoots)

Recommended Books Information for families Games for Under 5s