10001 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647
When you step into the 25,000-square-foot facility, the first thing parents might want to do is look to the left; that's where you'll find an inviting kid's area with bookcases at just the right height for little ones and a separate children's room for Mommy (or Parent or Caregiver) and Me story time. With colorful hangings on the wall encouraging kids to read, it is a nice place to find a book and sit for a spell. Still, we wished for comfy bean bags for kids to plop down on and enjoy a book or two. There's also a healthy selection of audio books and DVDs. The library does have several events for children, from Baby Sign classes to Story Time for tots not yet in preschool. And for kids in grades 6-9 there is the Bookniks club, a spot for readers of any stripe to chat about books, enjoy snacks and play games. Other events include a Teen Movie and a Game Zone (featuring Dance Dance Revolution and PlayStation), which starts at 2:30 p.m. for the younger kids and then as they leave, the teens come in after school to play. The games play out in a large room in the outer lobby before you actually get into the library. And there are plenty of computers that are labeled just for kids (don't worry, there are more for adults but you must have a library card to use them). One thing to note: Bathrooms, which do have a baby changing station, are in that outer lobby and a few feet from the kid room. Don't wait until your tot is dancing around in her Pull Up or you're going to have a problem. That said, there is plenty for a family to find here, either in the more than 132,000 volumes, free WiFi or Internet access on 22 computers.