It’s a brand-new day in Kids' World at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML)! Step inside and come discover new ways to play and learn as AHML begins 2024 with a totally reimagined and refreshed Kids’ World space designed to meet the growing needs of its youngest customers, their families and caregivers.
“The vision for the Kids’ World refresh is to create flexible, interactive and experiential learning zones dedicated to specific age groups with resources and activities to meet their developmental needs and interests,” said Trixie Dantis, Youth Services Manager. “We are committed to offering equal access to learning and socialization opportunities, through free, open-ended exploratory play and learning opportunities for children, their caregivers and families."
The extensive, three-month makeover began last September at AHML. Shelving and large parts of the collection were moved and rearranged, and the walls were painted. A new entrance to Kids’ World was also constructed to welcome library visitors. And if you need a snack break, there is now a brand-new café area with open seating just inside Kids’ World to the left. The library officially opened the space on Monday, January 8 and more than 530 people showed up to celebrate the new and improved Kids’ World.
“We kind of saw the updates during construction, but this is the first time the LED archway was working, and it was all finished up,” said Randy Kaempen, who attended the party with his 2-year-old grandson Artie, who enjoyed the new floor projection system. “Artie really likes the bubbles that you step on; he likes to stomp on them and then he sits down and lets them wave over him.”
The floor projection is a part of Kids’ World’s new Interactive Family Area, which provides space for children of all ages and their families to play and learn together. At the zone’s center is the Everbright wall. Measuring almost eight feet wide by four feet tall, the Everbright wall is a captivating reimagining of the beloved Lite Brite classic and offers endless interactive play opportunities for all abilities.
AHML's Foundation funded the Everbright wall, and the Friends of the Library donated the new floor projection system.
In addition to these new learning features in the Interactive Family Area, other upgrades and improvements include:
A space dedicated entirely for tweens in grades 4 to 6 to explore making and other DIY drop-in activities. Craft, build and tinker at the Maker Table full of supplies and projects, all generously donated by the Arlington Heights Memorial Library Foundation. Tweens can practice independence as they spend time with friends and make new ones, play video games, or find a book recommended by a tween.
“I’ve been coming here since my granddaughter Avery was a baby for storytime and then as a toddler,” attendee Diane O’Sullivan said. “[And] now here she is a tween with her friend; they’re 9 years old and now they can enjoy their own space, which is just so awesome.”
Lindsey Room and Tinker Cart
The Lindsey Room, home to storytimes and countless craft and activity programs at AHML, also got a much-needed refresh with new flooring, paint colors and a sink for washing big and little hands. The Tinker Cart, also funded by the library's Foundation, is another new feature that will keep younger kids, grades K-3, engaged during drop-in programs for making and creating in the Lindsey Room.
Imagination Station and Baby Garden
The library's littlest visitors now have a dedicated place of their very own to explore soft play toys and to learn and grow socially as babies and toddlers interact in this highly tactile space.
Wellness Room and Restroom
An all-gender bathroom has been added to Kids’ World as well as a Wellness Room which offers a quiet space for nursing mothers and for anyone who may need a calming space during their visit to Kids’ World.