I’ve been thinking a lot about Play in the library ever since attending the Preschool Services Discussion Group at ALA Midwinter where ALSC Blogger Amanda Roberson spoke about incorporating play. Afterwards, the group discussed different toys to buy and ways to talk about play to parents.
My new library has a dedicated area for families to come together and play and learn at the library. And my old library did not have a dedicated space, but we added a small fabric bin full of manipulatives and puzzles to the department to be used at the tables. I’m here to tell you that regardless of your space and library configuration, you can still incorporate play (and more!) into your library.
This past week while on desk, I had a patron who was trying to get work done on a laptop. Her young daughter was getting restless and curious about her surroundings; she finally settled at one of the open computer stations. When her mother asked her what she was doing, she replied, “My homework!” Her mother laughed and told me she didn’t have any homework. I called her daughter over and said, “Let’s do some homework!”
While her mother worked in peace, I wrote letters on scrap paper. I held up fingers to work on counting. And I used my clothes to practice naming colors. I assisted other patrons and she “studied” while I did reader’s advisory and helped with homework. Eventually, the little girl settled down with some books we found together and her mom was able to finish her work. As they left, her mother came over to thank me and said, “You made her feel important. Like what she said mattered.”
I replied, with a smile, “We were just playing.”
How do you play in every-day situations?
– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library District