Reimagining School Readiness Kits at Your Local Library


With a new school year approaching, we wanted to share a relatively new, early learning resource geared towards promoting school readiness for young children. The best part? This resource is absolutely free and available at several local libraries across Jefferson and Shelby Counties! 

Reimagining School Readiness

According to the Alabama Public Library Service, the Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit consists of “research backed resources created for library staff to help families prepare children ages 0 to 8 for success in school and life.” The key aspects of development that the program focuses on are:

  • Quality adult-child interactions
  • Social skills
  • Math and science learning
  • Executive functions
  • Stress
  • Growth Mindset 

Take-Home Kits

While a small number of libraries have begun testing out specific programming using the Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit, most others will simply carry these convenient, pre-packaged, book bag kits. You can typically find them in the children’s section of the library or behind the circulation desk. Just ask for the “Reimagining School Readiness Kits” (or STEM kits). 

Each kit contains a couple books, a game or activity, and an activity sheet with instructions. What we love about these kits is that each one focuses on a single topic and the activity sheet makes it super easy to take your child through a fun, educational lesson. Whether you are looking for homeschool activities or extra learning activities to keep your child engaged after school, these kits will fit the bill (and without breaking the bank)! You’ll find songs, exercises, games to play, and even snack suggestions related to your topic. Build a house made of cheese cubes? Sign me up!

The 10 Kits

There are currently 10 different Reimagining School Readiness kits available at local libraries. These kits mainly focus on STEM topics and emotional development, and can be checked out for two weeks at a time. The 10 kits you’ll find (along with their contents) are: 

  1. Self-Esteem
    • Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match
    • Giraffes Can’t Dance
    • My Family Builders Happy Family Card Game for Kids and Families
  2. Emotions: Problems, Worries, & Empathy
    • Ruby Finds a Worry
    • What Do You Do With a Problem
    • Feelings and Dealings: An Emotions and Empathy Card Game
  3. Emotions: Moods and Anger
    • The Way I Feel
    • Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day
    • The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids; 20 Different Moods/Emotions
  4. Perseverance
    • The Magical Yet
    • I Believe I Can
    • Coogam Wooden Hexagon Puzzle
  5. Persistence
    • The Most Magnificent Thing
    • Jabri Tries
    • EMIDO Building Discs
  6. STEM: Measuring
    • Inch By Inch
    • How Long or How Wide?
    • Room for Ripley
    • Rainbow Fraction Measuring Cups, Fractions Manipulatives
    • Wooden Ruler
  7. STEM: Shapes
    • Tangled: A Story About Shapes
    • Mouse Shapes
    • Conikus Wooden Pattern Tangram Magnetic Puzzle
    • Primary Shapes Template Set
  8. STEM: Counting
    • One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab
    • Quack and Count
    • Alytimes Counting Stick Calculation Math Educational Toy
    • 2 Dice
  9. STEM: Patterns
    • Pitter Pattern
    • Sort it Out
    • Rainbow Counting Bears
  10. STEM: Nature
    • Bird Builds a Nest
    • Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature
    • Nature Explorer Kit for Kids

Where to Find

Ready to try these out for yourself? Not all libraries carry these kits, so we’ve listed the
libraries in Jefferson and Shelby Counties that do below (alphabetically by city). If you’d like to see if a particular kit is available for check out (or if any new libraries have begun carrying these kits since the time of this writing), you can look here for Jefferson County and here for Shelby County. Just search “Reimagining School Readiness” in the catalog search bar. 

Jefferson County Libraries

Birmingham Public Library
Address: 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: (205) 226-3610
Hours: Mon – Sat 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Center Point Public Library
Address: 533 Sunhill Road, Center Point, AL 35215
Phone: (205) 536-7750
Hours: Mon – Fri 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Fultondale Public Library
Address: 1015 Walker Chapel Road, Fultondale, AL 35068
Phone: (205) 849-6335
Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Wed, Fri, Sat 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sun 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Hoover Public Library
Address: 200 Municipal Drive, Hoover, AL 35216
Phone: (205) 444-7810
Hours: Mon – Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Fri 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sat 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sun 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Trussville Public Library
Address: 201 Parkway Drive, Trussville, AL 35173
Phone: (205) 655-2022
Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Wed, Fri 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sat 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Sun 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Vestavia Hills Public Library
Address: 1221 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
Phone: (205) 978-0155
Hours: Mon – Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Fri, Sat 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sun 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Warrior Public Library
Address: 10 First Street, Warrior, AL 35180
Phone: (205) 647-3006
Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Tues, Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sat 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Shelby County Libraries

Alabaster – Albert L. Scott Library
Address: 100 Ninth Street NW, Alabaster, AL 35007
Phone: (205) 664-6822
Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 7:50 p.m.; Wed 10:00 a.m. – 5:50 p.m.; Fri 9:00 a.m. – 5:50 p.m.; Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.; Sun 1:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.

Columbiana Public Library
Address: 50 Lester Street, Columbiana, AL 35051
Phone: (205) 669-5812
Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri 9:00 a.m. – 4:50 p.m.; Tues, Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 7:50 p.m.; Sat 9:00 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.

Helena – Jane B. Holmes Public Library
Address: 230 Tucker Road, Helena, AL 35080
Phone: (205) 664-8308
Hours: Mon, Thurs 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Tues, Wed 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Fri 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sat 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

North Shelby Library
*Currently unavailable for check-out
Address: 5521 Cahaba Valley Road, Birmingham, AL 35242
Phone: (205) 439-5500
Hours: Mon, Thurs 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Tues, Wed, Fri 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sat 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Sun 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Pelham Public Library
*Currently looking into carrying kits
2000 Pelham Park Boulevard, Pelham, AL 35124
Phone: (205) 620-6418
Hours: Mon – Thurs 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Fri 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sat 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Vincent – Lallouise F. McGraw Library
Address: 42850 Highway 25, Vincent, AL 35178
Phone: (205) 672-2749
Hours: Mon – Thurs 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Other Early Learning Resources

If you are looking for other early learning resources to try out, your local library is a great place to start! Some other libraries carry different types of learning kits. For example, the Calera Public Library carries FOSS STEM kits that come in larger boxes and are also available for a two week check out. These box kits contain materials and instructions for experiments you can do with children, with upwards of 12 different activities in each box! 

Our local libraries are an amazing resource, and the continued availability of the Reimagining School Readiness kits (as well as other library offerings) is dependent upon use and interest. Utilizing your local library is a great way to try out different resources to see what works best for your kiddos, and it’s so fun to see what you’ll find each time you visit! 

What are your favorite early learning resources at your local library? We’d love to know in the comments! 

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Kristina W
Kristina was BMC's Social Media Manager for just over a year beginning in 2022, and also managed the BMC Calendar and Event Guides. In August 2023, she began tutoring her oldest son's class in a Classical Conversations Homeschool Community, but is excited to be back with BMC as a contributing writer! Kristina was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and moved to the Birmingham area at the end of 2019. She and her husband, Landon, always dreamed of one day owning land and living out in the country (especially after having two active little boys!). In 2023, they were blessed with the opportunity to purchase some acreage in Central Alabama, and have slowly begun working on their future homestead. In the meantime, Kristina has worked on learning various homesteading skills like baking sourdough, keeping various ferments alive, seed starting, and more! She loves sharing what she's learned in hopes of inspiring other moms to try out new skills. You can follow along with her homesteading adventures on Instagram at @raisingarrowsfarmstead