Central Library Field Trips for Kids and Teens: General

Use this site to plan and book a field trip to the Central Library in Austin Texas!

Welcome to YOUR library!

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."  --   ​Jorge Luis Borges

Request a Field Trip

FORM:
Request a Field Trip

Details:

  • Confirmations: Confirmations are sent via email.
  • Chaperones: Please bring one (1) adult per ten (10) students.
  • Availability: Weekdays only, dates go quickly so book early!

Field Trip Overview

Average Field Trip Length:

2 Hours

Tour / Welcome Portion:

15-20 minutes, mostly the Youth Floor (3)

What Happens Next?:

Youth will explore the Youth Spaces, look for books, participate in activities like the scavenger hunt. If they are teens they may make zines, use the gaming computers, or play the instruments in the Music Lab.

Most Important Things to See/Do:

Explore the Youth Floor (3)

If Time Allows:

Explore the rest of the building (Floor 2: Gallery, Gift Shop, Floor 5 tech petting zoo, Floor 6 butterfly rooftop garden)

What to Expect from a Central Library Field Trip

General

  • Field trips are a great way for students to learn and explore. While each one is different, they all have the same three parts:
    • Welcome / Orientation, Activities (depends on your needs) and Teacher / Chaperone-Lead Exploration.

Welcome and Orientation

  • Youth Staff contacts teacher ahead of each visit to confirm details and outcomes for the trip.
  • Youth Staff meets students/buses on Second Street or in the 2nd Floor lobby
  • Your group will enjoy a 15-minute welcome / orientation. 
  • Teachers can preselect from a variety of activities during the trip.
  • After that, your students/campers can explore the rest of the Library as your time and interest allows.

Pre-K to Age 12

  • Students from Pre-K to 2nd grade can enjoy a storytime as a part of our welcome.
  • Groups can pick up a Central Library Scavenger Hunt or an Exploration Guide.
  • Field trips range from 1-2 hours, depending on your time and interest. Visits longer than 3 hours should include outdoor exploration.
  • In the Children's Area & Tween Lounge students will find hands-on STEM activities, 24 computers, giant chess, board games, and over 60,000 books, graphic novels and movies.
  • Youth Staff can share curriculum support resources prior to the trip.

Teens Age 13-18

  • Teen Central has thousands of books & graphic novels/books for readers Grades 8-12
  • Teen Central also has 20 computers, including 6 Alienware gaming computers
  • Teen Central offers any-time use of their zine-making station, music lab (guitars and piano), and board game collection.
  • Let us come to you! Our staff can visit your campus to give an orientation to teens about library resources for projects.
  • Research Assistance is available for 8th-12th grades, as staffing is available, for groups of 20 or less.
Seating and activities in Teen Central are reserved for teens 13-18.
In order to preserve this special place in the library that meets the unique needs of teens, we ask chaperones and students under age 13 to limit their use of Teen Central to browsing the collection, as all seating, computers, and activities are reserved for 13-18 year olds. Exceptions exist for teens who have an accessibility, medical, or legal need to have an adult accompany them. Let us know if this is the case for your group!

Five Tips for Success

1. Escape from the Library!

Share our virtual Central Library Escape Room! with your Elementary students, parents, and caregivers.

2. Classroom Preparation

Allow classroom time for students to explore our catalog and online Virtual Tour.  Share assignments with Youth Staff ahead of time so we can pull resources for students.

3. Library Cards

If your group would like to check out books, please have students bring their Library card. We cannot issue cards during field trips. Students attending a school in Travis County qualify for a Student Card, and can get a card with their guardian at any library location prior to their visit; find application information here.

Best Practice: Have teachers & chaperones collect and hold all library cards, and assist with checkout to minimize lost cards. 

4. Lunch

Lunch seating is all outdoors so plan accordingly. Outdoor lunch spots include the 1st floor Shoal Creek Plaza plus 3rd and 6th floor porches. We have about 20 seats in our 2nd floor food court. Schools can also reserve box lunches with Cookbook Cafe.

5. Computers

Teachers will want to decide if computer use is a part of the visit prior to arrival. We have 24 computers for ages 0-12, and 20 more for 13-18 year olds. Larger groups will want to plan to rotate students through the computers available for their age group.