The Hawaiian Gardens Library is a 5,500 sq. ft. single-room library serving the smallest city in LA County with a population of roughly 14,400 residents. Of these, almost 77% identify as Latinx, 68% speak both English and Spanish and over 51% of adults identify as not speaking English very well. The library’s physical collection includes audio-visual and print materials in both English and Spanish, some of which are bilingual. A small but steady Friends of the Library group helps to provide program resources for young library users and families.
The Hawaiian Gardens Library has been Family Place certified since 2016 and provides two Parent-Child workshop series annually along with weekly Toddler/School Readiness Storytimes and monthly Emergent Literacy programs. Currently four of its seven staff are bilingual, including one full-time staff member.
The Family Place space includes a play kitchen, puzzles, blocks, manipulatives, puppets, stuffed animals, trucks and cars as well as having two AWE computers, a stand-up, two-sided drawing easel and table-top bead maze. A decorative alphabet rug centers the space and there are two armchairs for parents, a padded bench for reading together and three low circular tables with toddler and preschool height chairs for drawing and other art activities. Family Place workshops bring out a puppet theater, crawl tubes, musical instruments, play food, playdough, sensory boards, exploration boxes, bean bags, balls, pull-toys, play mats and dolls (amongst other toys) for further play exploration.
The physical collection features board books in English and bilingual English/Spanish, beginning reading books--including phonics books, concept books, and an EB fiction collection aimed at families with children under 5 yrs., which deal with issues such as potty-training, bedtime rituals, sibling rivalry and family relationships, and growing up. There are also periodicals for the youngest library-users and publications directed at parents. In addition, there is a parenting collection with books focused on child-rearing and related issues; pamphlets from area service providers are housed in holders above the bookshelves.