There’s more to the children’s section

May 2, 2023

In the late 1890s libraries began adding children’s rooms, mostly with the intention of getting noisy children out of the adult library areas. Patrons in our library may have felt the same way before we moved the children’s section downstairs. 

The children’s room is now located in the old community room. This allows us space to set out most of our educational toys. If you haven’t been in lately, bring a child and come play with our toys! (Or come without a child, I won’t tell.)

In the back corner we have puppets and a theater. There is also a play kitchen stocked with delicious plastic food and an assortment of dolls to feed it to.

For the kid who likes to build, we always have lots of different kinds of blocks out in all kinds of shapes and sizes. We have other types of construction materials too, like connecting fish and foam tangrams you can use to make designs.

The computers in the children’s section have an internet filter. We even have a special computer called the AWE which has a touch screen and games that were developed specifically for preschool aged kids.

The BEAM is a light-display which projects games onto the floor. Kids can stomp on monsters, sweep leaves away, or play letter identification and simple math games. Not to brag, but I hold the high score on the whack-a-mole game.

Youth Services Librarian Ms. Kira has a huge stash of educational toys and activities. She sets out different things for kids to investigate each month. Recently she had some magnetic blocks that stick to each other. Now I see she has some plastic shapes that attach to each other in unique ways. These different toys help kids learn through trial and error as well as helping develop those motor skills.

Speaking of motor skills, Ms. Kira got some tinker kits. These kits have motors and batteries and instructions to build different machines. Remember erector sets? They are kind of like that. She plans to use them for an after school activity later this year.

You can still find books for all stages of readers in the children’s library. We also have a variety of educational backpacks which have all kinds of fun activities and books in them.

If things get loud or too busy, you can use one of our sensory kits. These kits are to be used in the library. Each contains activities people use to calm themselves like noise canceling ear muffs, weighted items, and fidget toys. We have one on both levels, so if it gets loud upstairs, you are welcome to ask for one at the front desk.

We changed the space where the children’s library used to be into a tween and teen section. McDonald’s of Gering graciously sponsored this space and provided money for some furniture, including some chairs, a rug, and a table with a charging station. This is a great place for teens to hang out and read the latest issue of their favorite manga or to catch up on the latest hot tea.

I have a personal theory on quiet children in the library. Children are our future taxpayers. We want them to have an opportunity to have fun while learning in the library. Unfortunately, learning is not a quiet activity. It’s okay to ask questions and be excited about what you learned. Most of all, we want people to have fond memories of the library. Today’s libraries are more than a place for kids to read quietly. There’s more to the story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *