“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” -Dr. Seuss-
As we walked into the Barbican Library we were greeted by the friendly children's Librarian, Amanda Owens. I could feel the enthusiasm streaming out of her. It was very obvious that she took pride in her work.
The Children's room is set off in a nice corner separate from the adult area. This location is ideal for the boisterous noise of children. The comfortable and inviting room contains two computers and numerous books. Additional books are below the building in storage and can easily be recalled. Every where I looked I was met with bright colors and natural light. Bean bags and colored book boxes cover the floor. I was happy to note that the set up is children-friendly with low shelving and stools for easy access.
Not only was I impressed with the spacial arrangement but I was also really excited about the programming. They work primarily with school groups. In addition, in order to keep ties with schools that are unable to visit the library they do out-reach services once a week and visit the schools. They also have "Babytime" which may involve singing or storytime among other things. "Babytime" allows children to grow comfortable with library settings.
However, I think I was most impressed with the government initiative "Book Start." It is completely funded by the government and has been in existence for fifteen years. The program entitles every child in the country to three packs of books before the age of five. it is the local library's responsibility to distribute these packs which are broken down as follows: 0-18 months, 18-36 months and 36-48 months. According to Amanda Owens, about 90% of eligible children are reached yearly. I believe that access to books is extremely important but to be surrounded by books at home is just as important if not more so because it instills a stronger love for reading and learning in general.