Monday, 5 September 2016

Amazing Children's Libraries by Savita Kalhan

Following on from my blog The Weird and the Wonderful about libraries and librarians across the world, this is a blog about the most amazing children's libraries across the world where children can meet books in the most wondrous ways.

Yes, there are some great children's libraries in the UK, but with the general trend in libraries being shut down, or being under-funded, and the new proposals that will mean limiting access to libraries for kids under sixteen unless they are accompanied by an adult, I think it's important to highlight what can be done and is being done elsewhere.

When I was growing up, the children's library in my town wasn't wondrous in any other way than the fact that it contained tons and tons of books. That was enough for me. But if it had looked like any of the libraries below, I would have been pretty happy about it too!

Take Brentwood Library in the States. How amazing is that!

Singapore has the first 'green' library, which was built using sustainable and recycled materials, including a tree-house made entirely of recycled, donated bottles.

The Cerritos Millenium Library has a giant book entrance -

which leads into this -

In Burundi, they've incorporated hammocks as reading spaces -

Vancouver Community Library, like so many of these amazing libraries, incorporates play areas and reading areas for kids.

We do have some great children's libraries in the UK -

Camden Children's Library

Highfields Primary School has a double decker bus decked out as woodland -

Rosendale Primary School in south London had no space for a library so used a double decker bus too -

Cordawalles Junior School in Surrey also has woodland theme -

If I were a kid I would want to spend as much time as possible in these libraries, and most of them have great teen areas too. They're fun, inviting, magical and full of wonder. And then there's the books they contain too.
Some libraries go over and above their duty to children. Some have the budget to do so. Others are sadly fighting closures.


Sue Purkiss said...

These are wonderful! Thank you, Savita.

catdownunder said...

Oh, I love some of those. There's a library in Zambia shared by several schools that is in a canoe and in the Andes there is a mobile library carried by llamas. They were set up in International Literacy Year and they are still going.

Dawn Finch said...

These are all so beautiful! I was recently at the newly refurbished Columbus Metropolitan Library in Ohio, and their children's library has a wonderful door that is at a child's height. The librarian told me that it encourages parents to bend down and see the library from the child's perspective. I love that.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Lovely post! Thanks Savita. What amazing spaces! And love the child height door Dawn.

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks, Savita. Good to see this interesting ideas and settings for books and their readers.

Savita Kalhan said...

Thank you everyone. Dawn, the child height door is a great idea!
There are lots of other amazing libraries around the world, and it would be great to see more of them in the UK too. I've just got back from running my teen reading group at the library - the kids are all big readers now, and they would love any of those amazing library spaces. We're stuck in a poky corner, but it doesn't stop them coming to the group. It's less enticing for more reluctant readers.

Yvette Elrod said...

I love your article!! Have to say we love our Vancouver library, too. We drive 45 minutes to town because it's amazingly cool. Now we've got more to add to our list, Thanks :)