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The Coylewright Family @ the Library

May 7, 2012

by Heather Acerro, Children’s Librarian

The Coylewrights: Izaia, Indigo, Angel and Willa using the self-check machine.The Coylewrights are a library family. Jeremy and his four kids, Willa, 3, Angel, 5, Indigo, 9, and Izaia, 12, stopped by the Children’s Division recently to talk with me about the changes that are coming to the library and to share some of their ideas. The Coylewrights are frequent library users, who enjoy the collections, services and programs of the Children’s Division.

I asked the kids to tell me their favorite thing about the library: BOOKS was the resounding answer. The kids all love to read and always take home as many books as they can carry. While we visited, Angel and Willa spent some time on the Little Tykes computers while Indigo cruised the Children’s Division stacks and Izaia headed down to the Young Adult area. The family enjoys a wide variety of materials including picture books, chapter books, graphic novels and magazines. Even though a lot of changes are coming to the Children’s Division, we’ll still have plenty of books! Some of the collections will move around to make space for more activities, but we expect the children’s book collections to continue to grow. Watch for more graphic novels, board books, Book Group in a Bag for Kids kits and a new collection of small storytime kits in easy to carry book bags.

Izaia and Indigo finding Letterboxes.One of the newest activities available in the Children’s Division is Letterboxing. Letterboxing is a treasure hunting activity that is practiced by people all over the world. There are seventeen letterboxes hidden in the Children’s Division at RPL and Izaia has found each and every one. Letterboxes contain a unique rubber stamp and a journal. Izaia collected the images from each box in her journal and stamped her personal stamp in each letterbox journal. Letterboxers are welcome anytime the library is open and the Children’s Division has already seen several out-of-town letterboxers. If you’ve never letterboxed, but would like to give it a try, ask for more information at the Children’s desk.

I talked with Jeremy about his dreams for the Children’s Division and he would like the area to have a more child-friendly appearance and provide more hands-on activities. He recommended areas for kids to explore art and music, the more interactive, the better. He also suggested an area for families to relax and learn together. Since there are no limits to dreams, Jeremy shared his wish for an indoor park like Edinborough Park in Edina and a drop in childcare to give adults some alone time to look for library materials.

The great news for the Coylewrights and the rest of the Rochester community is that some of these changes are on the way. Heather Acerro, Head of Children’s Services and her staff are working to bring many improvements to the division in 2012. The first of these changes is the introduction of an Information Desk and a new bank of self check-out machines just outside of the department. All circulation functions will move to the main public services desk on June 1st, which will free up staff in the Children’s Division to provide targeted services and activities to children and their families.

The entrance to the division will be updated with a fun bridge and a new aquarium featuring fish native to Minnesota. Don’t worry, Big Orange Fish will still have a home on the tropical side of the aquarium! A Discovery Cart will be rolled in which will provide families with an opportunity to explore science activities together and an Art Room will encourage families to get creative.

Willa reading a book in the tween area.Kids who start school ready to learn to read will be more successful readers and learners and  will be much more likely to graduate from high school. Five simple early literacy practices are the answer to a lifetime of success and they are: playing, reading, writing, singing and talking. The picture book area will be transformed into a place for preschoolers and their grown-ups to play, read, sing, write and talk together.

While under construction, the Children’s Division will still provide a full range of programs and services, including the Summer Reading Program and a new baby storytime, both of which will start in June. The Coylewrights love the new programs for homeschooling families. They’ve enjoyed Letterboxing, Mail Art and Lego® Fun. They are looking forward to more programs targeted for homeschoolers in the future. In the next few weeks, plans and drawings of the new division will be available in the Children’s Division. Watch for all of the exciting changes!

Jeremy reading to Angel and Willa.After an hour and a half at the library, the Coylewrights, each with a bag bulging with books, headed for the self check-out machines to check out their books. They left with a receipt nearly as long as Willa is tall, big smiles and plenty of reading materials.

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