(c) Allison Mei-Li

Believe it or not, the Camarillo Library was one of the top reasons we decided to plant roots in Camarillo. I remember pulling up to the library for the first time and taking in the view of the hills, the Spanish architecture, and the stunning water fountain out front. Stepping inside, I found terracotta tile, dark wood, and plush leather arm chairs. Two curved doors opened into the children’s area, where an enormous wooden pirate ship sprang to life, mast flying high toward the ceiling. I immediately envisioned all of the memories I’d make with my son here, encouraging a love of reading and imagination.

Libraries are Magical to Kids

Two years later, my son and I do indeed spend a lot of time at the library. As a toddler, the library is his own personal Land of Narnia. He steps through the wooden doors engraved with maps and compasses and is transported to a forest of books. The librarian is a magician—one simple request for a story about dogs and VOILA, she finds him one (or twelve). He can take home as many books as he wants, “paying” for them himself with a red-lighted library card scanner. And returning books is another highlight, considering the pure joy of stuffing books through the return slots. Bye, books!

Rainy Day Entertainment

On those cold, rainy days when we Californians have no idea what to do with ourselves, the library really shines. I remember the pure gratitude I felt when I first learned about the rainy-day scavenger hunts. The librarians hide stuffed animals throughout the shelves and kids eagerly search for each one, filling out their scavenger hunt pages to earn a prize. There is nothing like finding a stuffed penguin hiding in the fairytale section. 

Free Fun

As a parent, I appreciate any outing that is free, and the numerous child-centered events make the library a place that never gets old. Before my son started preschool, we were regular attendees of the Tuesday/Thursday toddler story-times. He loved sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce with other kids on the rug, listening to books read aloud by a sweet and friendly librarian. His favorite part? The frequent song and dance  breaks. When we first started attending, he could only pay attention for a few minutes, but I loved watching his attention span and interest in stories grow week by week. 

Depending on age, kids can also participate in craft classes, game nights, dance parties, homework help, and coding workshops. Be sure to check the calendar around holidays, as the library also hosts Santa Claus story times and Halloween trick-or-treating. These library events have been a great way for us to build community, meet people, and make friends. With the conversations and knowing smiles from other parents, I always leave the library feeling less alone than when I arrived.

(c) Allison Mei-Li


Many of the libraries in Ventura County offer amazing recurring events and activities. Below is a list of my favorite activities at The Camarillo Library.

Preschool Story-Times: T/Th, 10:30-11

Listen, move, play and sing along! Story-times are full of stories, fingerplays and songs, along with early literacy tips for caregivers.

PAWS For Reading (to Dogs!): T, 3:30-4:30

Practice your reading with certified therapy dogs, who love to listen. This event is geared toward K-5, but my 3-year-old enjoyed “reading” to the dogs and teaching them colors. They are patient listeners.

Tween Crafternoon (Ages 8-12): W, 4-5 pm

Geared toward kids ages 8-12. Crafts vary every week! 

Homework Center: Weekdays, 3-6 PM

The Homework Center (a separate room within the children’s area) provides homework help for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. 

Coder Dojo (Ages 8-12): First and third Sunday of each month

Kids learn web development and Python with CoderDojo! 

Music Class for Babies: M, 10:30-11:15

A music therapist guides parents, caregivers and babies in exploring music, movements, vocalizing, playing instruments and listening using traditional tunes and well-known children’s tunes.


  1. I love this! I’ve always been a huge fan of taking my son to the library as well. We were just there earlier today. Hope you and Miles are doing well!


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