The Family Place Library at the Brook Park Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library features a redesigned children’s play area that includes a built-in, life-sized wooden car, donated by Ford Motor Company. Children love to "drive" around town and "assemble" the parts of the engine! The play space is good-sized and bordered near the entrance by the children’s DVDs -- shelved in a charming "little town" unit, complete with a little school to play in! Also bordering the play space are board books, nursery rhymes, parenting books, concept books, first readers, and picture books in easy-access bins.
In normal times, the play space includes an abundance of pretend-play options: a bright wooden kitchen with sink, oven, refrigerator, dishes and play food; a grocery store check-out station with play food and baskets; a play farm with farmer and animals; a puppet show theater with many different puppets; and a roadway rug with roads, bridges, and waterways, right next to vehicles of all kinds, wooden town buildings and blocks. The baby and toddler play space has many developmentally appropriate toys, including soft blocks, wire-bead mazes, manipulatives, musical instruments, and puzzles, plus a free-standing infant play-yard completing this space.
Library visitors enjoy the loveseats to snuggle up and read, as well as three small colorful wooden children’s tables with matching chairs. Older children have a slightly taller table nearby and access to older-level puzzles, games, and coloring and writing materials.
Over the past year, many children especially love the wooden car, and now the recently added little schoolhouse. Parents and caregivers easily browse the informational pamphlets above the parenting and concept book collections -- including the library’s toy collection, which we always highlight in programs with samples that parents can check-out right from the program!
We offered Take & Make bags during the worst parts of the past year, along with virtual programming, and are so thrilled to be offering in-person storytimes and many other programs again -- such as our Baby & Toddler Sensory Play series and Baby Club series, our parent-child workshop. Attendance is high, as parents and little ones alike long to get out of the house to play, learn and make friends again! Over the years, we've enjoyed watching our many repeat families bring their newest additions to Baby Club, then transition to storytime.
We're proud of the impact our Family Place Library is having on the Brook Park community. One such example was 3-month-old Georgia and her parents (and other grandparents) in southern Ohio, through her grandparents living locally in our city. The grandmother just recently called up to say that even though Georgia is now one year old, she still loves her tooth-chewed copy of the "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" board book she received, and even sleeps with it!