Renovated children’s library an inviting space

By Angela Gagnon | Staff Writer

The Thomas Hughes Children’s Library, located on the second floor of Chicago’s
Harold Washington Library Center, offers city kids a slick, renovated space to spend the winter days reading. After the renovation was completed in summer of 2016, the atmosphere at the library has transformed into a lively environment where kids can
participate in a variety of activities.

New Eastside resident Erica Meyer said the updates have made the library more interactive and appealing. “My son is three-years-old and he always finds something to do,” she said. “He builds with foam blocks, stacks legos, and drives cars and trucks.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel cuts the ribbon at the official reopening of the Thomas Hughes Chil-
dren’s Library in 2016. Photo courtesy of Reemaa Konkimalla

The new space is loosely organized into three major sections, called “neighborhoods,” each focused on a different age group. Maria Peterson, unit manager at Thomas Hughes Children’s Library says the modern-day learning environment is for all ages. “We have a true commitment to early literacy, and our new space provides 21st century learning,” she said. “We have programming for all ages, and we want everyone to come and join us for all we have to offer.”

The Baby Garden includes soft, movable blocks and a story nook is stocked with board books and picture books at just the right height for little ones. For kids under age five, the Plaza area is the best option. The interactive puppet stage encourages kids to explore and use their imagination. The zone for six-to-ten year-olds is an “Imagination Playground,” with giant legos and wooden blocks that allow for building and creative construction and
collaboration.

Tweens and teenagers can check out the Digital Media space containing digital cameras, keyboards and virtual reality tools. A Tween Tech class offers activities with PS4s, robots and snap circuits.

Currently, plans are in place for new 3D building and coding programs. New Eastside resident and long-time library regular Reemaa Konkimalla said it has offered her family “great enrichment in terms of arts, Lego activities aimed at building skills, the coding exposure for kids and the various themed events aimed at learning new crafts.”

The library also offers a plethora of children’s educational programming, including story time, music, playgroups and Family Book Club. Walk-ins are welcome and all
events are free.

For more information on the children’s library, including specific library program-
ing and events, visit www.chipublib.org/childrens-library

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