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For Children

In addition to being part of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the Cotsen Children’s Library has a public gallery and programs for children. Families are invited to relax and read in Bookscape, our whimsical gallery for children.

You’re also welcome to join us at one of our story times, Saturday events, or workshops. We have online resources as well, including our BiblioFiles author interview program and Pop Goes the Page, our creative literacy blog for librarians, teachers, educators, and parents. Our gallery and our programs are open to the public and free of charge.

Our Gallery & Programs

Bookscape Gallery
Our children’s gallery begins with a giant blue book and a garden of charming topiary animals. From there, the room unfolds in a succession of reading areas stocked with books. Stop and rest on a comfortable leather chair by the “Hearth of Darkness” fireplace. Continue on to a koi pond, a wishing well, a playful puppet theater, and a towering bonsai hollowed out for the ultimate reading experience. The gallery is open to the public and free of charge.

Tiger Tales
You're invited to join us at our very special, very interactive story time. We begin with a picture book and end with a creative hands-on project to take home!
Every Friday 11:00am - 12:00pm. 
No fee, no registration required. 
Ages 3 - 5

To Be Continued 
Pull up a pillow, relax, and listen! We'll read a chapter book to you over a series of weeks, and celebrate at the end with a cool project or activity. Best of all, you can work your way towards a book of your very own. Five visits = one brand new book of your choice!
Every Wednesday 3:45pm - 4:45pm 
No fee, no registration required.
Ages 6 - 8

Cotsen Critix 
Like to discuss books and partake in creative (and sometimes highly unusual) activities related to books and writing? In the past, we’ve met illustrators, queried authors about their books, faced our worst literary fears, written works of historical fiction, learned characterization techniques from an actors, and more!  
Every other Friday, 4:00pm - 5:30pm (October - May)
No fee, enrollment is required. 
Ages 9 - 12

First Draft
Want some constructive feedback on your writing? Try First Draft, our writing resource for authors-to-be. Simply submit your creative writing and personal essays via email, and Princeton University student editors will offer their comments and suggestions. For submission guidelines, click here.
Program runs from October - April
No fee, submission required. 
Ages 13 - 17

The BiblioFiles 
Dig a little deeper into the books you love to read with the BiblioFiles, our illuminating interviews with children's book authors. From award-winning bestsellers to books you might not have heard of but should definitely check out, hear what the authors have to say about their creations. To check out our recent guests and to access our year-round audio archive, click here
No fee, no registration required.
All ages

Special Events 
Listen to an original Grimm tale, be amazed at the chemistry behind Harry Potter, craft a custom pop-up book, visit the number mines of Digitopolis, or learn to speak the high language of Tolkien's elves! Our workshops, events, and performances are listed both here and in the Picture Book Press.
No fee, registration may be required. 
Ages vary 

Annual Writing Contest

350 for 50 
Polish up those pens! We challenge you to write a short, 350-word story that includes a sentence of our choosing. Winning stories will be published in Cotsen's Picture Book Press, and the authors will receive a whirlwind $50 shopping spree at Labyrinth Books. The contest occurs in the spring and is announced both here and in the Picture Book Press.
No fee, registration is required. 
Ages 9 - 14

Creative Blog

Pop Goes the Page 
Know a teacher, librarian, parent, or friend who is looking for some creative literacy connections? Look no further than Pop Goes the Page, our fantastic outreach blog full of projects, instructions, helpful hints, and new ideas galore!

blogs.princeton.edu/popgoesthepage

Outreach Publication

Picture Book Press
Interested in receiving announcements about our programs and special events? Subscribe to the Picture Book Press, our outreach publication! The PBP is delivered to your inbox or mailbox on a quarterly basis. To see our current issue and to join the mailing list, please click here.

School Programs

Cotsen in the Classroom 
Our 6 collections-based educational programs come directly to any K-5 classroom or home school within 10 miles of Princeton University campus. The programs are correlated with state and national curriculum standards, facilitated by a Cotsen staff member, and come with materials for students to see, touch, and take home! For more information, please click here.
Tuesdays (September - May)
No fee, registration is required. 
Grades K - 5


Our programs are open to the public and free of charge. Some are run on a first-come, first-served basis and may have restrictions on class size and age range. We ask that you please respect these limitations. Additionally, some programs require registration and may have enrollment criteria. Questions? Please contact Dana Sheridan, Education & Outreach Coordinator: danas@princeton.edu