CALS opens new Children’s Library and Learning Center today

CALS-Childrens-Library-and-Learning-Center-1-630x472Books, plants, vegetable soup, playwriting, and computers. Children will be able to learn more about each of these at the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 W. 10 St., when it opens today.

Set on a six-acre site, the $12 million, 30,000 square foot Children’s Library includes a computer lab with fourteen computers, teaching kitchen, large activity area, individual and group study rooms, theater, and community room in addition to a collection of more than 21,000 books, DVDs, and CDs.

In 2007, Little Rock voters approved a bond issue to provide funding for the Children’s Library.

Community input from library patrons as young as eleven years old helped CALS fine tune the concept of a vibrant, happy place for families with children to come for hands-on learning and enrichment. Activities and programs will be geared toward preschool, elementary, and middle school students and key subject areas will focus on the amenities of the site. The teaching kitchen is large enough to accommodate an entire class in learning about all facets of culinary arts, including nutrition, growing, cooking, and eating food.

In the 165-seat theater, children can experience all aspects of theater, including designing and building sets, writing plays, acting, and costume design. The state-of-the-art sound system, lighting, and projection screens will also be used for movies, concerts, and lectures.

The Children’s Library’s grounds are integral to the entire facility’s program. A greenhouse and teaching garden will help children learn about growing healthy foods as well as provide produce that will be used in the teaching kitchen programs. The grounds reflect the topography of Arkansas’s ecosystems, from the native hardwood trees in the highlands to vegetation of the wetland areas, which are both planted and original to the site. Walking paths offer families an attractive place for exercise while learning the names of the trees and plants, and an amphitheater has seating for outdoor programs or nature watching.

Homework and projects may be completed in the lab with fourteen computers or on laptops available for checkout using free Wi-Fi access. Early childhood computers and iPads with literacy apps allow small children to practice reading and computer skills. A limited number of computers and materials are available for adults who bring their children.

The Children’s Library will be open Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Architectural, engineering, construction, and landscaping services were provided by Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects; East-Harding Construction; Engineering Consultants, Inc.; TME, Inc.; McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Viridian; Ecological Design Group, Inc.; Grubbs, Hoskyn, Barton and Wyatt, Inc.; and Landscape Architecture, Inc. Additional funding for streets, parking, and walking paths came from the City of Little Rock and Pulaski County.

For more information contact 918-3086.

Advertisements