Cincinnati is a very book-friendly city. We not only have lots of bookstores; there are also great options to buy your kids books without breaking the bank!
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is awesome. There are 40 branches across Hamilton County, but anyone who lives in Ohio can get a library card here (in fact, even the littlest kids can apply for a card!). There’s an extensive e-book collection, special exhibits, kids’ activities, film screenings and more! The Main Branch has a massive kids’ area which I plan on hitting up on a rainy afternoon this summer. Bonus: it’s free!
These are our favorites:
- Half Price Books: My kids love this store, and I love that I can get them books at a fraction (half) of their retail price! Plus: it’s the best kind of recycling.
- blue manatee: This locally owned business is a gem. The booksellers are super helpful, and there are always really fun kids’ events like crafts, story time, and yoga!
- Joseph Beth: I love the kids’ area here — there’s a train table, puzzles and other toys kids can play with. Joseph Beth also hosts really famous children’s authors!
Little Free Libraries
The concept of a Little Free Library is simple: it’s a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. The motto is: take a book, return a book. My kids love the whole “take a book” part, but I’ve admittedly had to surreptitiously shuttle books out of our house to fulfill the “return a book” part of the deal. Some of their current favorites have come from the Little Free Library, including There’s A Wocket in My Pocket! by Dr. Seuss and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
Throughout the year, you can find “book swaps” where people bring books to trade. Usually these events are part of a larger event. For example, on June 20, The United Way is organizing the “Bridge the Summer Learning Gap” book swap on the Purple People Bridge as part of their “Day of Action.”
You can even take a less formal approach, and organize a neighborhood swap or even make your child’s next birthday party a book swap. You can never have too many books (says the English major/daughter of a librarian) — and freshening up your home library will get you and your kids excited about reading!
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has a warehouse that’s open year-round, which is a great rainy-day activity. They also have a massive Annual Downtown Book Sale, which is coming up! May 30 – June 5, the Main Library will be transformed into a huge used book store, so take the kids and stock up for summer!
Also worth noting is the Scholastic Warehouse up in West Chester. This place is an educator’s dream; and, in fact, you generally need a school ID to shop at these warehouses. However, sometimes Scholastic opens its doors to the public, so keep this option on your radar!
While we are talking about books, there are many local organizations that collect books for donation. Most local libraries have book drop-off boxes by the entrances, where you can donate your old books to be donated to charities.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s all make regular reading a part of our summer bucket list!