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Parents Resources

Babies learn by looking and listening from the first day of life. Childhood, particularly the first few years of a child’s life, is a very important period for the development of language skills. Parents and carers can play a important role in this development by talking and singing to their children and sharing books, songs and rhymes in a happy, loving home environment.

As children grow, reading remains a crucial factor in their success in education and life. It’s important that parents continue to demonstrate the value and enjoyment of reading by encouraging regular reading times, and allowing children to see them reading too. A love of reading can also be encouraged through regular visits to the library where children can browse a huge range of books and choose their own to borrow.

The Library provides a wide range of activities and resources for babies to young adults. These include:

  • Books & Magazines
  • CDs & DVDs
  • Multi-media packs
  • Literacy resources
  • Spark Discovery science kits
  • Collections of HSC resources including study guides, Board of Studies publications and materials for use by senior high school students.
  • Digital resources for kids via Storybox, Overdrive and other online apps
  • Free access to research databases

We aim to provide the best resources for all ages. Remember: if you can’t see it, ask for it! We welcome purchase requests.


School holiday programs are generally aimed at school aged children, while we provide programs for babies and preschoolers each week during term. We aim to promote what the library has to offer as well as provide a meaningful activity for young people. These activities give children the opportunity to meet others, to learn or experience something different and to share some fun. Some of our library activities are fully supervised while others require carers to stay. Bookings may be required, and it is a good idea to book early, so you don’t miss out.  

Activities include:

  • Holiday activities during the school holidays for all ages.
  • Storytimes for preschoolers during school terms
  • Early Bird Early Literacy program
  • Baby Bounce
  • Class Visits
  • Author Visits
  • Exhibitions

Our Baby Bounce program features a wide variety of songs and rhymes to share with your little one. If you want to learn the songs, practise at home with our Baby Bounce Booklet.

Early Bird Early Literacy Program

The Early Bird Early Literacy program at the Port Macquarie Library is a literacy program for parents and their babies, 12 months and under. The program is designed to give parents an opportunity to share and experience the love of reading with their baby and gives parents practical ideas on using stories, rhymes, songs and music to help babies gain an early love of reading.

This program runs over two consecutive weeks at 10am on a Monday morning. For bookings and times, please see What’s On Kids & Teens.

Bookstart Program

Reading to a baby is important because it creates a special bonding time for parent and child and introduces baby to many experiences through stories, songs and rhymes.

Bookstart – Reading for Life was launched in February 2006. Bookstart is a bag containing a quality board book and information on the importance of reading as well as library services information. The bags are being given to all new parents in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area to encourage reading from a young age.

Thanks to the Port Macquarie Friends of the Library, over 4,000 Bookstart bags have been distributed to mothers giving birth at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.

Ten Minutes a Day book packs

Early Bird, Early Literacy is complemented by the Ten Minutes a Day Baby Book Packs. These are available for loan at Port Macquarie-Hastings Libraries. The packs include board books, a CD and nursery rhymes and have been carefully selected to suit the developmental needs of babies 2 years and under.

The ‘Ten Minutes a Day’ program is made possible through the support of Newcastle Permanent Building Society’s Charitable Foundation and The Smith Family.

Premier’s reading challenge

The Premier’s Reading Challenge runs every year from February to September and is available for all NSW students in Kindergarten to Year 9, in government, independent, Catholic and home schools.

The Challenge aims to encourage in students a love of reading for leisure and pleasure, and to enable students to experience quality literature. It is not a competition but a challenge to each student to read, to read more and to read more widely.

How do I find the PRC books in the library?

Not all books listed on the Premier’s Reading Challenge list will be in the library. The library books from the K-2, 3-4 and 5-6 groups have been catalogued so if you type in for example, ‘premier’s reading challenge K-2’ in the catalogue as an ‘anyword’ search, they will be listed. You can reserve these from home.

Most of the K-2, 3-4 and 5-6 books in our collection have a sticker on them. The list does change from year to year. We are very happy to help you find the nominated books. Even better, reserve them from home and we can do all the looking! 

FAQ’s for parents

The materials available range in levels of reading age and interest. We do not keep whole sets of readers as schools do, but have a wide range of books available in bagged sets, on CD and individually.

Yes. The board books provide colour and interest with strong links between text and pictures. Also available are Baby Book Time Packs that include two board books, a music CD and a rhyme sheet.

This collection of resources provides practical advice and support to parents whether their children are in nappies or doing their HSC.

Yes and this is a great way to start their library journey. When joining as a junior borrower, they will need to have a guarantor. Remember that with a library card, young borrowers can access newspapers, databases and online stories from home.

Our libraries offer staff assistance, internet access, study space and online information as well as a huge collection of books, DVDs, study guides and resources to borrow.

Our collection goes back to 1882 and comes in a variety of formats. Please refer to our research section for more information.

eSmart is a great resource for parents and students to learn how to safely enjoy the online world. Parents resources are also available through the eSafety Commissioner

The State Library and NSW Health provide a variety of information for parents. This includes books, brochures and a very comprehensive website. This is complemented by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.

Find more information at Drug Info website from the State Library of NSW.

Please refer to our special collections for information on this topic and more.

More resources for parents

Learn From Play

Learn From Play is a site for parents who want to educate their pre-school or primary school aged children. There are lots of activities to make learning schools subjects such as Maths and Literacy enjoyable with physical activities, worksheets and online book related games including Memory Cards, Mazes and Puzzles.

Love Talk Sing Read Play

Families NSW in the Sydney metropolitan area have produced resources for parents to provide advice and information on the social and emotional development of their child and how parents can help nurture this important part of child development. The Love, Talk, Sing, Read, Play child development flipchart has now been translated into four major community languages.

Out and About

Need help with teaching your children sight words? Download these flashcard and placemat word sets from the Queensland Government website. Give your child a flying start in literacy by helping them practice their sight words with the Out & About app.

Best for kids

Best for Kids from Legal Aid NSW provides information and resources on family law in Australia for children, parents and anyone else who wants or needs to know about it, including grandparents. It features four short videos, and has links to other useful resources for separating families.

Parent Line NSW: Free professional help 24-hours a day for parents and carers of children 0-18 years. Call 1300 1300 52

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