LLC Loves libraries! In celebration of National Library Week we’re giving you a look inside some of our favorite libraries. Going beyond the books to the amenities, programs, and features that make them our favorite places.
Hours of play at a…library?
Yes, it’s true, you can absolutely entertain your kids for hours at the Barrington Area Public Library. It is that cool!
I grew up with weekly adventures to the library, and have visited several in the area, but in my humble opinion, the Youth Services Department of Barrington Area Library is amongst the best (if not the best) I’ve ever seen. It is absolutely amazing and offers something for kids of all ages and interest levels. It doesn’t have the “Shhhhh” factor that makes it difficult to bring young children to the library, and instead is full of activity and sound. There is even a slide available for the littlest patrons, which definitely can illicit squeals of enjoyment. Learning through interactive play is strongly encouraged; it is also the perfect way to spend an afternoon for both parents and kids.
Located on the first floor of the library, the large and fully equipped Youth Services department is easily accessible for everyone, even a runaway toddler who can’t wait for mommy to start his experience. Books, games, puzzles, a dress-up area/stage and puppets give the children chances to experience both quiet and imaginative activities. A large magnetic wall/chalkboard, a DUPLO play table and walled area, large tinker toy blocks (for fort-building, natch) and a huge Light Bright wall are fantastic interactive areas. The digital pond and the word wall are both opportunities for your children to understand cause-and-effect relationships by learning how their movements affect objects on the screens.
Advanced technological features bring this youth services area into the 21st century. A game room can be reserved to play video or board games with friends and family. iPads, pre-loaded with educational apps, are also available for play. Several desktop computers with Internet access and Windows 8 Computers familiarize kids with the latest Microsoft programs in a touchscreen environment. There is also a digital creation studio for children in 8th grade or younger to edit videos, photos, audio files, presentations and more. If all of this isn’t enough, a craft room is located in the back corner, and depending on the timing of your visit, a supervised art project may be available for any interested child to create at no additional cost.
And the books! So many books. It is easy to find a comfy chair and cuddle up with the wide variety of board books or scout out something more age-appropriate for older readers. I am not exaggerating when I say that I truly had to drag all four of my children, (ages 1 – 10) out of there after playing for almost three hours.
On our next rainy spring afternoon, take a trip to Barrington and visit this library. Or go on a sunny day and also visit the garden area adjacent to the library, the nearby playground or the unique treehouse that is located just beyond the library, off of Route 22. I promise, one visit and you will be hooked, just as my family is.
“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other. But when books are opened, you discover you have wings.” – Helen Hayes.
Has your family visited the Barrington Area Library? Tell us about your family’s favorite activity there in the comments section.