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A Resource for Libraries

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Kids and their parents at the library Parents playing peek-a-boo A parent reading a book with a child Kid playing at the library

More Tips

A designer's tips for creating child and family-friendly library spaces:

  • PROVIDE LAYERED EXPERIENCES: Offer a variety of areas—active and quiet, social and private—that encourage a range of experiences. Provide enough complexity to engage children on more than one level, and ensure that your space is easy for parents and caregivers to use.
  • OFFER REFUGE: Children need places where they can regroup and rest, and nursing mothers need quiet and privacy. These spaces can be nooks with soft seating and books or puzzles, or spaces with views to the outdoors.
  • REMEMBER KIDS NEED TO MOVE: Provide space where it's okay to do so, and set out fixtures that encourage activity, while fostering imagination. For example, a play kitchen lets children use gross and fine motor skills.
  • ENGAGE ALL THE SENSES: The more senses we use, the more we remember. Create a memorable experience by getting children to use their sight, smell, touch, hearing, and even taste. Positive memories will increase learning and the desire to return.
  • OFFER PATHS TO PRIDE: Children thrive when accomplishments are visible and acknowledged. Celebrate milestones both in learning and life.
  • CREATE SIMPLICITY AND DELIGHT: Make the ordinary extraordinary – offering aspects of surprise that allow children to discover something new on each visit. For example, children tend to look up in a building, so give them something to look at. Simple interactive installations such as projected art that responds to movement will stand the test of time and be enjoyed by all ages.
  • FOSTER A SENSE OF ANTICIPATION: The journey and path to the children’s area are just as important as the destination.
kids play area kids play area kids play area