Back to top


Madison Public Library is here to support your family as you return to school online and in-person. Learning has always happened outside the school walls through self-directed exploration and play. While your child may not have the same access to academic content that they might in an average year, we believe they can still thrive and learn emotionally, creatively, and physically. 

As a caregiver, you are doing great! But if you would like to add more to your at-home educational and recreational mix, these librarian-approved resources can help...

Parent and Caregiver guide to Back-to-School with Madison Public Library

Find Something To Read

Keeping your child supplied with books they are interested in and motivated to read can be the greatest predictor of eventual reading success.

But how do you do that during COVID with safe social distancing?

Get A Library Card

Kids of any age are welcome to get a free library card. Kids under the age of 16 need to have their parent or caregiver's permission. To get a card, fill out this form. Remember to submit an electronic copy of the parent or guardian's photo ID. Not to worry, it is easy to do and secure. 

Don't know where your card is or your address has changed? You can also fill out the online form. We will update your information and send you a new card if yours has been lost. MPL also has a virtual card. This card will let you use MPL's electronic databases but doesn't allow you to check out books. Have questions? Visit our Library Card information page.

Browse Our Shelves

Browse the shelves

Browse some of our most popular collections online. 

Sign up for a library card to place holds.

Librarian's Picks

Librarian's Picks

Not exactly sure what you want? Our librarians will select for you a grab bag of great reads!

Curbside Pickup

Curbside Pickup

Information on how to schedule and pick up books

Dream Bus

Dream Bus

Visit our mobile library that stops at a dozen locations throughout the Madison area.

Check out the schedule and find out when the Dream Bus will be in your neighborhood.

Digital Books

Wisconsin's Digital Library

With your library card, you have access to thousands of eBooks and Audiobooks with these services:

Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads

Novelist k-8 This database can help you find good books to read for your kids and young teens.

Or check out these Book lists compiled by Madison Public Librarians.


Get Help

Computers and Printing

You can make an appointment to visit one of our libraries to use a computer. We have special rooms available for families who need to bring young children along. Learn more on our Internet and Computer Access page.

To make an appointment, call 608-266-6300 10am-6pm during the week or 12-5pm on Saturday.

Ask a Librarian

We love helping kids and families with questions!

Contact your local Youth Services Librarian or fill out our contact form or call our centralized reference line at 608-266-6300

Madison Writing Assistance

Do you have a teen or older child who is working on a paper or admissions letter? Consider connecting with Madison Writing Assistance to get personalized help.

Other Services

See what else the Library has available on our Current Availability of Library Services page.

Play, Explore, and Take a Break


Need a moment? Consider incorporating mindfulness activities into your child’s daily routine including these ideas from the UW's Center for Healthy Minds.


Social-Emotional Wellness


Explore high-quality apps you can feel good about using with your kids.


Enjoy a song, game or storytime created by Madison Public Library Staff



Curated podcast stories for kids from Radiolab


I can’t seem to place a hold because I have fines, I thought you were fine free?

Madison Public Library went fine free in August of 2020. Library staff will work with all partners and vendors and will work with affected customers during a transition period. Library customers may not notice an immediate change to their library records. Questions about library accounts can be addressed to the library at or 608-266-6357.

How can I get books for my kid?

Check out our page on Browse Virtually page or call our reference desk at 608-266-6300.

Should I be returning books now?

Yes, our book drops are open for 24/7 return of library materials. They will be quarantined for 24 hours and then checked in.

Our internet is down, or can I print something?

You can make an appointment to visit one of our libraries to use a computer for one hour and to print up to 25 pages in black and white and 10 pages in color for free. We have special rooms available for families who need to bring young children along. To make an appointment call 608-266-6300 10am - 6pm Monday - Friday, 12pm - 5pm on Saturday. Learn more on our Internet and Computer Access page.

Help, my kid is struggling!

We are bored.

How can I find information on help with rent relief, food purchases, and other basic needs?