innovative libraries
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#1 - Charlotte, NC - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#1 - Charlotte, NC - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

R The Joe & Joan Martin Center in Charlotte, NC, got the most mention alongside phrases such as "excellent programs and environments for kids." This colorful, 102,000-square-foot facility opened in 2005 to serve area youth of all ages.

Since ImaginOn is a partnership between the Children's Theatre of Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklengburg Library, both the programming and the facility itself instill appreciation for drama and literature. When entering the facility, children marvel at the central StoryLab area, an interactive exhibit space featuring a three-story sculpture called the Story Jar. Surrounding the Story Jar is Stage Play, which consists of several installations allowing kids to explore different aspects of theater.

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#3 - Tulsa, OK - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#3 - Tulsa, OK - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

What kind of library brings in secret agents and jam bands to get kids excited about learning? Try the Hardesty Regional Library in Tulsa, OK. The library includes a 420-seat, nautical-themed theater area called Connor's Cove where performers encourage audience members to discover the joy of reading.

"Connor's Cove is hands down the best performance venue for children in the state," says Monty Harper, a children's songwriter. "It's just the right size, large enough to seat a good crowd, but small enough to feel intimate. The design is perfect.

 
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#6 - El Paso, TX - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#6 - El Paso, TX - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

Located in El Paso, TX's downtown area, the El Paso Public Library reaches approximately 5,100 children each week through standard services, online resources and special activities while serving a diverse group that includes new immigrant populations, thanks to its proximity to Mexico.

Residents can participate in weekly activities such as Family Crafts Wednesday and Family Game Fridays, as well as seasonal and themed events like Dia del los Ninos/Dia de los Libros, a yearly literacy festival.

El Paso Public Library offers a Ready to Read program designed to help prepare children to read before beginning school, as well as Young Explorer Learning Centers that include computers preloaded with developmental software. The library's summer reading program typically attracts approximately 15,000 children. 

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#8 - Brentwood, TN - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#8 - Brentwood, TN - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

A whimsical entrance featuring oversized books and a story tree beckon kids to come inside the children's area at the Brentwood Library in Brentwood, TN. Children are greeted by a talking owl, which is operated by a motion sensor and adds to the library's playful atmosphere.

The Brentwood Library stays especially busy during the warm weather months with its popular summer reading program. School may not be in session that time of year, but young minds can still stay stimulated here with programs featuring musicians, magicians, puppeteers, live animals and more. In addition, the Brentwood Library offers four preschool story time sessions and one family session, plus an after school program for kids in Kindergarten through second grade that includes reading, games, crafts and snacks.

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#10 - Cincinnati, OH - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#10 - Cincinnati, OH - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

Cincinnati, OH has a top library for children. 

Reading to dogs and reading outdoors are encouraged at The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Cincinnati, OH. Those are just some of the ways librarians here get children to engage with literacy programs.

The library's Children's Learning Center presents a comfortable and entertaining atmosphere for families. It features child-sized tables and chairs, a saltwater aquarium and multiple rooms for programs. Doors in the back of the space lead to a 9,200-square-foot children's garden. It's a great spot for warm weather events, picnic lunches and quiet reading. 

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#2 - Vancouver, WA - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#2 - Vancouver, WA - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

The children's area at the Vancouver Community Library in Vancouver, WA, is a sensory treat that draws as many as 12,000 visitors each week. Librarians have reported seeing children hop, run and pull their parents into this magical place.

Opened in July 2011, this approximately $35 million, five-story library features a 12,000-square-foot children's floor, and even getting there is fun. Visitors travel through a 200-foot long, four-story atrium with unique architectural details. Bright colored lights are scattered throughout the flooring of the entire children's area.

One of the many highlights here is the Early Learning Center, which is the largest library-based ELC in the country.

 

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#5 - Iowa City, IA - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#5 - Iowa City, IA - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

If your child suddenly disappears in Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City, IA, chances are they've camped out in the Book Nook. Created almost entirely out of hundreds of children's books, the nook is cozy, colorful and the perfect place to curl up with a good read. The library's Children's Room also features art that changes seasonally as well as multicolored walls. 

In 2011, Iowa City Public Library made its summer reading program shine even brighter by bringing in local celebrity Dan Wardell, who hosts Iowa Public Television's Kids Clubhouse. Visiting the library as part of his Summer Reading Road Trip, Wardell hosted two story time events.

 
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#7 - Cheyenne, WY - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#7 - Cheyenne, WY - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

If you see tweens roaming the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, WY, after it's closed don't be alarmed. The after-hours program, where preteens are given full access to the library, is just one of many programs designed to get kids involved and engaged in reading.

Bike racks outside the library fill up pretty quick. An average of 3,500 children visit here each week. With so many kids coming in, the Library Café started offering items like smoothies, half sandwiches and snack packs. Colored carpet tiles lead to the second floor, which is entirely dedicated to children. The space includes story time areas, computer stations, an area for board games, an oversized chess board that features pieces bigger than some of the kids, and other learning experiences. Children ages 12 and older can be library volunteers and assist in various activities. The library also has a Teen Advisory Board that makes decisions about programs offered to their peers.

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s.pierros's curator insight, August 11, 2014 1:44 AM

Livability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life—including the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and equity, educational opportunity, and cultural, entertainment and recreation possibilities.


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#9 - Birmingham, AL - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability

#9 - Birmingham, AL - Top 10 Libraries for Children | Livability | innovative libraries | Scoop.it

When entering the central branch of the Birmingham Public Library inBirmingham, AL, kids are in awe of the facility's expansive atrium that includes walls of windows, indoor plant life and a sky-high ceiling. The wide-eyed stares don't stop there. After climbing to the library's second floor to enter the Youth Department, kids can take in rows of colorful books, an array of sea creatures and plant life hanging from the ceiling, with stuffed animals and painted pillars rounding out the experience. But where the library really shines is the fantastic programs that captivate kids. 

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