LLC Loves libraries! In celebration of National Library Week we’re giving you a look inside some of our favorite libraries. Going beyond the books to the amenities, programs, and features that make them our favorite places.
Cook Park Library in Libertyville, part of the Cook Memorial Public Library District, is my kids’ favorite community library. We can easily spend hours there – the library is home to an extensive collection of children’s books, videos and games, but also provides an abundance of play opportunities. (There is even a toddler playroom, where you can let the kiddos explore while you flip through your favorite magazine!)
Because the library is so spacious, with a variety of rooms and segregated areas, it rarely feels crowded. It’s the perfect place to spend some quiet time with the little ones. Here are some highlights of this wonderful community library:
Expansive Children’s Programming
Cook Park Library offers an extensive array of classes and activities for kids of all ages, offered throughout the week. Here are just a few:
- Baby Story Time: Focuses on activities that will stimulate your baby’s brain development, with an emphasis on caregiver-child interaction. You can also learn basic baby sign language!
- Toddler Story Time: This interactive story time taps into your toddler’s boundless energy by engaging your child with action rhymes, songs and finger play.
- Preschooler Story Time: As your child’s attention span begins to expand, so does the depth and complexity of story time. During preschooler story time, your child will enjoy longer books, flannel board tales, and songs with themes designed to help increase your child’s vocabulary and improve letter recognition and sounds.
- Kids Read! Book Discussion Group: This fun, interactive book club is for children in grades 3-4. In addition to participating in discussions about their favorite books, kids will enjoy a number of book-related activities.
Special activities and events such as Pokemon Party, where kids can compete in Pokemon card or video game battles; Art Explorers Jr., where kids in grades K-2 can recreate artwork from popular children’s books; or Reader’s Theatre, where children act out scenes from their favorite stories.
It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon playing at Cook Park Library. Throughout the children’s area are tables with fun board games, and iPads and computers loaded with kid-friendly apps and games. For imaginative play, the library has an adorable puppet theatre – complete with a large bin of puppets – and tons of puzzles.
Your artistically inclined children will love the crafts tables – every time we go there, there is a different craft available, complete with all the supplies you need to complete the craft at the library. Your Thomas the Train lovers will enjoy the train and Lego tables. In addition, various puzzles, games and literacy activities are available for patrons to play with at the library or check out for home use.
The kids space is bright, spacious and serene – one of my kids’ favorite activities is searching for their favorite fish in the fish tank. Do you have an energetic toddler? The library boasts a play room just for you! The toddler room is amazing – it’s full of imaginative and educational toys, and you can close the door if your little ones get too loud.
Activities for Tweens and Teens
Cook Park Library offers quiet study space for teens and a dedicated teen computer lab, complete with the applications they need to complete homework or special projects. In addition to that, tweens or teens can participate in special teen programming such as “teen only” book clubs, or even get free online homework help and writing assistance from certified tutors, daily from 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., in English or Spanish.
Special “Teen Zone” events include:
- Workshops in photo, video and image conversion;
- Multimedia labs, where teens can learn about the photo and video making tools available to them at the library;
- Movie and board game nights; and
- Gaming events, where teens can bring their favorite videogame and compete against others (such as Smash Bros. competitions).
Is your teen a budding cinematographer? Or does she need access to video equipment for a class project? The library is home to a digital studios lab, where patrons can learn graphic design skills, try out 3D modeling, record a podcast, or create digital film projects. A variety of equipment can be checked out for use at home, too, such as a GoPro HERO camera, camcorder, portable hard drive, Nikkon D3300 Digital SLR camera, selfie stick or MacBook Air laptop. The library also has a 3D printer – send your 3D designs to be printed and pick them up at the library!
And of course, there are thousands of books, reference materials, CDs, DVDs and other materials available for checkout, as well as opportunities to meet well-known authors through the library’s Authors Out Loud reading series.
What’s your favorite children’s program at the Cook Park Library in Libertyville? Let us know in a comment below!