Let’s Play! At the Library! Innovative Play-and-Learn Spaces Come to Three Neighborhood Libraries

By Julie B. Mon, June 18, 2018

What’s a climbing wall doing at the Library??

The library used to be a quiet place—families and children sitting quietly together reading. Because that’s what people did at the library.

We now know better.

Reams of research now show that children learn best—and first—through PLAY: through pretending and creating and interacting and moving. With this understanding—and with funding from the William Penn Foundation, plus additional support from the Knight Foundation—the Free Library has re-envisioned how our children’s spaces can maximize children’s learning. Vibrant new Play-and-Learn Spaces at Cecil B. Moore Library in North Philadelphia, Whitman Library in South Philadelphia, and Wyoming Library in Feltonville have transformed the children’s areas into dynamic learning landscapes that promote motor skills, language development, and early literacy.

These literacy-rich playscapes are expressly designed to provide children with the building blocks to form and grow the preliteracy skills they need to become school-ready. With climbing walls, perching towers, nooks and tunnels, magnetic surfaces with large letter magnets, and reading alcoves inside shelving units, the spaces encourage both active play and quiet reading and reflection. And they are wholly unlike other spaces neighborhood children encounter.

With the guidance of community input, they were designed by architecture firm Digsau and Studio Ludo, a play-focused nonprofit, and outfitted with materials fabricated by Erector Sets, Inc. Staff from Smith Playground have trained key library staff in how to best use these spaces to promote free play and learning. In the coming months, Digsau and Studio Ludo will also be installing outdoor spaces at Cecil B. Moore Library and at Kingsessing Library in Southwest Philadelphia.

So come on over and play and learn with us!

Cecil B. Moore Library's new Play-and-Learn Space
Cecil B. Moore Library's new Play-and-Learn Space
Wyoming Library's new Play-and-Learn Space
Wyoming Library's new Play-and-Learn Space
Whitman Library's new Play-and-Learn Space (image courtesy of William Penn Foundation)
Whitman Library's new Play-and-Learn Space (image courtesy of William Penn Foundation)

Comments

Love the new spaces these three lucky libraries received. In the future I would love to see more reading nook areas for both children and teens!
Tina - Philadelphia Thu, June 21, 2018
WonderFul!!!! Oh how I wish, the Children's area looked like this when I was Young. Definitely a Step Up in outreach to continue to bring New Young Patrons to the Library.
LaCretia Fluellen - Parkway Central Fri, June 22, 2018

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