PWPL Children’s Room to undergo construction

Adi Levin, Staff Writer

Members of the community have enjoyed the Port Washington Public Library’s children’s room for twenty years.  Now, this area is undergoing renovations.  The library’s website contains detailed plans for the new children’s library, and separate online webpages point out specific updates.

In the children’s library, the “story hour” area can become extremely crowded. The library hopes to overcome these physical limitations by expanding the story space.  The library staff is in full support of these changes.

“I think this will be great for the community,” said children’s room librarian Amy Christake.  “Story hour is practically exploding, so it’ll be fantastic to have more room for kids to read and learn.”

Not only will this make visiting the children’s library more comfortable for young children, but it will also improve the experience for their parents and caregivers.

These updates will also make the library and its resources more accessible to younger children, such as preschoolers.  Since the children’s library is mainly geared towards elementary school children, changes are being made to enable younger kids to take advantage of everything the children’s library has to offer.  For example, by providing a “Maker Space” where children can do messy or creative projects, the library will reach out to children of all ages.

However, there is one age group that is less well represented at the library.  The Children’s Library is intended for younger elementary school children, while TeenSpace is geared towards students from seventh to twelfth grade. This creates a gap, as fifth and sixth graders do not have a library space of their own. The library hopes to remedy this by creating a space where these students can work, read, and learn in an area especially dedicated to their age group. But what exactly does the library have in store for tweens? The new area, according to pwpl.org, will have a row of comfortable window seats, complete with computers.

The PWPL website features digital mockups of what the finished children’s room will look like, allowing library lovers to get a glimpse of the updates in store.  Based on the concept of the “tree of knowledge,” the new children’s room will contain multicolored tree motifs. Each motif will incorporate some of the most important areas of learning that children need for development, based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This means that each section of the library will allow chldren to learn about the world around them in a different way, whether it’s  through visuals, nature, or physical activity. Each area of the new Children’s Room will be dedicated to a specific type of knowledge and learning style.

In addition, a quiet study area will replace the crowded computer section in the Children’s Library, where tables will be set up for working and messy activities.  Although some are reluctant to see the library change after so many years, many believe that it is time for a change.

“The whole project will make the library more accessible to a new generation. People like me grew up with the children’s room, but we need to move ahead,” said freshman Shiraz Johnson.

The plans for the upgrades to the Children’s Room have yet to be fully developed, but construction could potentially begin in about six months.  Although an exact date has not been determined, staff, students, and parents alike are anticipating these changes with excitement.

“It may take a bit longer, since funding for this project comes entirely from donations to the library, rather than taxpayer money,” said Director of Children’s Services Rachel Fox.

Additional grants are also going to supplement the project.