Best Places to Live

Scottsbluff , NE

Population: 14,955
Photo: Dana Damewood

Lied Scottsbluff Public Library

Every new mother leaves the local hospital in Scottsbluff, NE, with a baby board book thanks to a program sponsored in part by the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library called Cradle Catchers. Moms are also given a coupon they can redeem at the library for a sippy cup that has "read to me" printed on it. These are among many ways the library shows it is committed to serving the youngest members of this growing community.

Library staff members visit kindergarten classrooms and invite students to come and get a library card and start earning reading rewards through the "Kinder-carding" program. A popular spot in the library is a new interactive wall with padded cubbyholes that kids can curl up in and read. Stuffed, friendly-looking monsters are positioned around the wall to keep kids company. Children from ages 2 through the sixth grade can participate in an annual summer reading program, which attracted more than 1,700 participants in 2011, while an additional program is available for young adults. Story time is offered for children ages 2 through 6, which goes beyond books and includes films, songs, puppets and more.

Lied Scottsbluff Public Library also engages the city's youth by participating in programs such as Read Across America and National Library Week.

Wow Factor: In addition to its interactive wall of cubbyholes, a sizable Lite-Brite board, and storage drawers filled with learning toys, the library will soon unveil a wall of the 100 Best Children's Books.