St. Charles City-County Library branches encourage happy noises

No ‘shhhh’ zone 

Two new interactive early literacy spaces installed at two St. Charles City-County Library branches encourage happy noises

By Brett Auten

Don’t mind the noise, it’s well worth it.

There are two new interactive early literacy spaces installed at two St. Charles City-County Library Foundation library branches.

In the children’s areas of both branches, children can play with interactive games, building materials, train tables and wind tunnels along with other structures, toys and play spaces unique to each branch.

The Kisker Road Branch Library, located at 1000 Kisker Road, offers an Alphabright (with light-up alphabet blocks), an interactive three-sided play set and large foam building blocks.

The Middendorf-Kredell Branch, located at 2750 Highway K in O’Fallon, has a Baby Garden, an interactive light board, a magnet wall and a Pretend & Play Animal Hospital.

“We have always had a focus on interactive activities for our young readers,” Maggie Melson, St. Charles City-County Library Director of Youth Services, said. “We plan to expand on that and make the library more of a hub for the entire family.”
Children’s play is an important part of their development and a library patron may observe these new spaces as only fun and games.

“Libraries are just not as quiet as they have been in years past,” Melson said. “There is going to be a bit of a learning curve for some of our customers. A bunch of kids interacting, talking and singing is good for the brain but it is not always quiet. We hope that they understand the importance and if need be, headphones for the computers are available at the counters.”
Melson said that researchers in the fields of education and child psychology have discovered significant evidence that play is necessary for healthy learning and growth. As children play and pretend, they also learn critical cognitive, emotional, social and physical skills. What children learn through play in their early years sets the stage for future success in the classroom and beyond. Along with the practices of writing, reading, talking, and singing, playing is the foundation of early literacy.

Early literacy space expansion into other branches is a definite possibility in the coming years. The two libraries were picked for different reasons. Kisker Road had the space available and also the addition of a new neighbor, Veterans Park, to make for a perfect accompaniment. Middendorf-Kredell is simply a powerhouse when it comes to traffic in and out the door.

These spaces are available for family playtime during the hours that the library is open and are available thanks to the generosity of St. Charles City-County Library Foundation donors. The St. Charles City-County Library Foundation was established in 1999. The foundation supports the programs, services, literary arts, and educational purposes of the St. Charles City-County Library District. Funding provided by the foundation complements but does not replace the tax dollars which fund basic library programs and services.

The Library Foundation is always seeking individuals (whether you are interested in serving seniors or children) with a passion for reading and an interest in volunteering to support its programs. Email or call Erica Land at 636-441-2300, ext. 1582 for further information on how you can help.

CUTLINE: Photos provided by the St. Charles City-County Library A grand opening celebration was held at the Kisker Road Branch Library and the Middendorf-Kredell Branch Library last month for its new early literacy spaces.