Spring break at Edmonton Public Library: a guide for working parents

I love that our library will use any school break as an excuse to put on a bunch of free programs for kids – or, more than they usually do, because they always have free programs for kids. Spring break is next week, and those in the Edmonton area should go to the website or check out the program guide, and read on for my picks.

I have a contentious relationship with kiddie events and programs. Working parents of younger-than-school-age children probably know where I’m going with this: the vast majority of programs for preschool age kids, with the notable exception of swimming lessons, are offered on weekday mornings or afternoons. That means you don’t get to do mommy-and-me yoga, and your child doesn’t get as many opportunities to learn with you outside the house.

Kim Bates, a Digital Literacy Librarian at Edmonton Public Library, has heard the same complaint from parents. “We have had customers request more evening and weekend programming and as a result we have been scheduling more of our programs at those times with the working parents in mind.”

May I just say thank you? Here are a few spring break highlights that’ll work for you if you work nine to five (or 8:15-4:45, in my case.)

One Book, One Break, Many Adventures! Lumberjanes Vol. 1Lumberjanes

I loved last year’s One Book One Edmonton project so much that I wrote about it twice. One Book One Break is a child-friendly take on the concept: make a book available to everyone in Edmonton, and give them chances to talk about it and win prizes.

There’s been so much buzz about comic book Lumberjanes on book blogs and Booktube that I wasn’t sure if it was for kids. Kim says Lumberjanes appeals to a “wide demographic” but cautions that “some preschoolers have found the creatures in the book a bit scary.” My four year old cannot abide Goosebumps reruns, so I’m going to take Kim’s advice and check it out myself before I share it with him. It sounds like it’ll be perfect for my six year old.

Everyone in Edmonton can download a copy of Lumberjanes on Hoopla, and the library is ordering extra physical copies. Each day during Spring Break, libraries will have a new activity sheet that doubles as an entry to prizes which include an iPad Mini 4 and an autographed edition of Lumberjanes to the Max Edition Volume 1. Details at epl.ca/onebookonebreak.

Working parent friendly dates: this one’s on your own time, and many branches are open till 9pm weeknights, so there’s plenty of time to get your entries in.

Minecraft Madness

minecraftMinecraft at the library is nothing new, but given the popularity (bordering on obsession in my house), three branches will set aside a Minecraft-dedicated computer for the whole week of Spring Break. I asked Kim if kids get as crazy as mine do when they’re playing Minecraft at the library, and she said that while there generally aren’t fights over the computers, “kids do often like to talk to each other as they play so I do expect plenty of strategizing and cheering!” My kids could use this good example. Oh, the horror of being a one-iPad household!

Working parent friendly dates: Drop in during opening hours at Stanley A. Milner, Woodcroft or Sprucewood branches.

Lego at the Library


Awesome. (via hollywoodreporter.com)

Lego without risk of stepping on a rogue brick at 6:00 am? Sign me up. For kids 6-12.

Working parent friendly dates:

  • Saturday March 26, 2:00 pm at Capilano
  • Saturday April 2, 3:00 pm at Meadows
  • Saturday April 2, 3:00 pm at Woodcroft

Minion Movie Marathon

The downtown library is showing all three Minion movies (does anyone even call them Despicable Me?) over Spring Break. Yeah, you might own them at home, but sometimes a change of venue works wonders. All ages.

Working parent friendly dates: Saturday April 2, 2:00 pm (The Minion Movie) at Stanley A. Milner

Puppet Adventures

Great for younger kids, as long as they can sit still for more than a minute at a time. Look, we’ve all been that parent dragging their kids out of a library program, there’s no shame. All ages.

Working parent friendly dates:

  • Saturday April 2, 2:00 pm at Calder
  • Saturday April 2, 2:00 pm and Sunday April 3, 2:00 pm at Castle Downs
  • Sunday April 3, 2:00 pm at Clareview
  • Saturday March 26, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm at Lois Hole
  • Saturday March 26, 2:00 pm at Stanley A. Milner
  • Saturday April 2, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm at Whitemud Crossing

Bonus (and shameless self-promotion; I work for the city and helped develop this): If you’re looking for more kids’ programming in Edmonton, check out myrecguide.ca and create a custom guide to City of Edmonton registered programs – swimming lessons, daycamps, arts, yoga, kickboxing, and much more. You only see the ages, interests, and locations that work for you. And, there are more and more options for us working parents on evening and weekends. We’re working on it!

This post was inspired by, but not paid for by, Edmonton Public Library. I mean… they’re a library. What did you expect? They do lend me free books though.




  1. Brie @ A Slice of Brie

    Haha best disclaimer ever. I love the EPL. I miss it, Calgary’s Public Libraries are good, but not the same. (For example – baby/toddler programs are free, but you have to register and it’s as intense to get a spot as it is to get concert tickets when the sale goes live).

    Also, Sully’s most epic public meltdown occurred in a library program, so ya.

    • lauratfrey

      The library is a great place to have a melt down. It let’s you practice dealing with it in public, but a public that’s seen it a million times and doesn’t really care 🙂

  2. Naomi

    I do miss taking the kids to the library programs. They’re not so interested anymore, although there are still programs for their age groups. Mostly, they’re just too shy. Which programs do your kids like the best?

    • lauratfrey

      My kids like the self directed stuff ( ok, the computers). They aren’t really interested in the group stuff either. I’m excited to check out Lumberjanes with them, and maybe do an activity sheet. .. if they won an iPad that would end 50% of the arguments in our house, as they wouldn’t have to share anymore!

    • lauratfrey

      They actually don’t. I left that part out, lol. Even when they were young, it was an ordeal to get them to sit through a Sing and Sign class (my fav, singing songs with sign language. I loved doing sign language when they were little.)

  3. ebookclassics

    I have recently complained to our local library because many of their programs require that kids be in a certain age group, e.g. 3-5 of 6-9, etc. to register, so that means my kids can’t go to the same program even though they are 2 years apart. The computer system has their files on record, so I can’t even cheat and register both kids anyway. I said kids of all ages like super heroes or Minions or whatever. I’m just going to crash one of those events, I think.

    I loved Lumberjanes and the kids showed some interested when I was reading the first few novels, but they were mostly interested in Bone, although we never ended up reading it together. Also they are into gross humour right now, so books like Captain Underpants.

  4. Carolyn O

    Ah, children’s programming. One day my son will go on Oprah and complain that I never took him to kid stuff or watched cartoons with him . . . unless he’s totally anxious in social situations, like me (I hope not). You’re absolutely right about working parents’ schedules. I think scheduling the bulk of parent-teacher conferences during the day is really uncool too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s