The Library Experience (without even one book! )

On Sunday my two daughters and I spent the afternoon at the library – the Children’s Library at ImaginOn. What I love about the Children’s Library at ImaginOn is that the facility is focused on making the visit to the library an experience.

During our nearly four hours there we created imaginary mountains on the computer, played with the puppet stage, imagined riding the Charlotte Trolley, drew on the bookcases with chalk, made popsicle stick puppets, played with doll houses, attended an impromptu storytime, played Jumpstart on the PCs and took lots of pictures of Lucky Rover (the 1st grade mascot who was visiting with us for the weekend) experiencing the place as well. All in all a great afternoon of fun and in the end we left without even checking out one book. :)

As a Library staff member, I was taken back a bit at first when I asked the girls if they wanted to check out books and they both answered “No.” But then as I thought about it, I realized our home (and the bookcase in their bedroom) is filled with books, so why would they want more books? To them the Library is more than books - it's all about having “fun.” (that’s their exact quote, not mine). And as I pondered this more, I was pleased to see their mindset shaping this way -- libraries ARE more then just books (or "Books, books & more books" - which was one of the perceptions I heard from a recent OCLC Perceptions Report presentation). Libraries are about communities, they’re about experiences and they should definitely be about having “fun.”

4 hours of “fun” at the Library and not one book – I’d say that’s one heck of a great compliment!

PS: View the small flickr set of our trip here.

Now here's a question for you ... What can we do with our library spaces to make adults (and teens) say the same??

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