I'm a children's book author, radio presenter of 'By the Book' for Radio Northern Beaches, and freelance writer. Check out www.brydiewright.com for more about
Published January 29th 2017
The perfect space for little readers
I will admit it's been a while since I've been in a library. My first job out of school was Library Assistant, so I am no stranger to the concept. It's just the past few years have been caught up working and raising a little boy whose idea of 'quiet please' is perhaps not the same as a librarian's.
Fortunately, it's a new year and a new start. I now have more time to read and after writing a book, I want to make sure my son understands what a library is and develops a healthy appreciation for reading. So, with possibly expired library card in hand, we decided to visit the Warringah Mall branch of the Warringah Library Service.
The library's very own red dog sets a child-friendly tone
Walking through the entry doors, it's like stepping into another world. Not a dingy old bookcase in sight. The extensive premises have a light and airy feel with an attractive open plan design. My four-year-old made a beeline to the furniture in the foyer – a red dog – which he immediately climbed on, requesting a photo with 'his new friend'. This choice of décor immediately conveys a sense of child-friendliness; a relief to any parent with a wayward youngster in tow.
As we made our way to the Kids' Space at the back of the library, we knew we had come to the right place; a huge mural of a fairy tale dragon adorns the back wall and the lounge area is expansive and welcoming. Many hours in my life are spent telling my son not to touch things in shops, or, we can't buy that today, so it's wonderful that there are still places you can go which afford children access to books, DVDs and CDs, regardless of their parents' budget restrictions.
There is plenty of information on children's activities and services on display and the Super Hero party to celebrate the Children's Summer Reading Club instantly caught my eye. What a great way to get kids engaged with the library! So, after booking our free places for the event online, back we came two days later, my son in full Buzz Lightyear garb, with the promise of a kids disco, craft activities and party food to lure us in.
Buzz Lightyear and the reading club dance to the latest super hero tunes
Warmly greeted by children's services librarians, dressed in capes and masks, and ushered into the expansive Multi-Function Room on Level 2, we joined the swarm of elaborately dressed and excited children. There wasn't any reading going on at this party but junior guests were taking with gusto to the activity of their choice, whether it be dancing to their favourite tunes, making super hero art, or having a polaroid picture taken in Gotham city, my son's personal favourite.
The youngest members of this library are extremely lucky to have such a well-resourced service, staffed with innovative and enthusiastic professionals who care about engaging the local community with their activities and children's collection. I had never seen anything quite like this in a library before and I was impressed. The kids were having an absolute ball!
The Warringah Library Services network, like many others around Sydney, is investing in the needs of its youngest users and running great programmes for early readers all year round.
Now that school holidays are over, the focus at Warringah Mall (and sister libraries Belrose, Dee Why and Forestville), will shift to Story and Rhyme Time programmes for toddlers and pre-schoolers and free Lego and Duplo play sessions.
The fairy tale reading dragon sits high above the Kids' Space
If you've not been to the library for a while (or never been!), why not switch your mothers group venue to the Kids Space, on rainy days, or bring the whole family for a visit on a Saturday morning? A good library is one of the best local resources we can have and even in a world of digital entertainment, there is still something special about a good old fashioned outing to borrow some books. I hope we never lose that. 2017 is definitely the year my son and I are going to get back to the library.