Guest Blogger

Too Many Toys: Recovering Library Programming and Play Spaces

Play food scattered atop a table in the children's play area with other toys on the surrounding floor.

Have you ever looked around the library and wondered where all the toys came from? Or who was going to clean them up? Did it make you want to cry? Or maybe kick and scream and have a bit of tantrum? I’ve been there, and I’m guessing you have, too. Whether you’re looking at a public floor play space or programming toys, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Supporting play in libraries often means giving children and caregivers access to many toys and activities. Open-ended toys provide more learning opportunities, but often means more loose parts. If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen something that would be just perfect for your program or space and purchased it. But when does it become too many toys? Can you recover? Let me tell you what my library did.

Blogger Emily Mroczek-Bayci

Big Ticket Library Purchases

A lot of libraries around me have gotten renovations, and it’s always fun to check out what a library adds. In fact I’m pretty sure every library worker finds themselves lurking around local libraries while on vacation to see what they might have. Some items I see are totally unique while others are becoming more common. Here are some “big ticket items” that have been surfacing in more libraries around the country.

Blogger Alexa Newman

Play Areas in Libraries

Indoor Playground? Early Learning Area? Playland? Seventh Circle of the Underworld?     Play areas for the youngest library patrons are most common in public libraries, although some school libraries have them as well. They range from the simple: an area rug with a train table or puppet theater and some puzzles; to the elaborate:  dedicated themed spaces, with corporate sponsors, that are changed out on a quarterly basis. With our recently completed remodel and expansion my library created a new, dedicated, larger space for creative play. It has quickly become one of the most popular spots in the library. There are busy times where we have upwards of 40 people (children and caregivers) in the space at once. Mornings are usually the most hectic. It can be quite lively at times. (Okay, maybe raucous is a more accurate descriptor.) Located in the youth services department, it offers an engaging,…

Blogger Lisa Taylor

Stuffed animals in the library – Poll results

Stuffed Animals in the Library: 😀 or 😝 Many of us have stuffed animals in our public spaces. However, no one talks about the “yuck” factor. If you do a quick search of the ALSC Blog archives, you will come up with 14 blog posts mentioning stuffed animals.  Most posts featured ways to use stuffed animals in programming. In one post,  the Intellectual Freedom Committee discussed the negative factors of commercially “branded” stuffed animals.  So, last month, I posed the question, Stuffed animals in the library: Love ’em? or Hate ’em? The choices were narrow: Love ’em! Imagination, creativity, cooperative play! They spark them all! Hate ’em! Dust, germs, seeds of disagreement! They carry them all! One hundred twenty-five of you were kind enough to offer your opinion. And the winner was: Love ’em! (58%,  72 votes)           Hate ’em! (42%, 53 votes)       …