Friday, August 31, 2012

Toys and Noise

Choo-choo! The train is coming around the bend!
Choo-choo!
I have learned that toys and noise go hand in hand. And I tell you, friends, that is a good thing.

Let me say from the get-go that I think it is extremely important to have toys available for children to interact with in the library. This philosophy applies to all child-utilized spaces in the library, both in programs and outside of them. As a result, I have toys available 24/7 in the children's area of my library.

As result, the children's area is usually not quiet. That's not to say there is screaming--tantrums are actually rather few and far between, and very few children fight over toys. Instead, my staff and I hear great noises. Kid noises. Learning noises.

Daddy! Look what I drew! A car!
Children develop by interacting with the world around them, and one of my goals is to provide plenty of opportunities for positive interactions in the library. Lots of times these interactions are with books and stories and librarian-mediated activities, but other times the interactions happen when children find things to explore just by looking around them. Noise in the children's area is evidence that learning can and does take place at any moment in the library--early literacy skills are constantly developing and sharpening.

Those happy noises of kids playing and enjoying themselves also betray the development of something else: a lifelong love of the library and the fun that can be had there. And if that's not worth an occasional outburst of the ABCs--sung preschool opera style, of course--then, well, you can shush me.

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