New Children's Library To Encourage Experiential Learning

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 12:00 am  

“This tract of land with the library on it really sat empty for all these years,” Rowland said, noting that some of it was intended for War Memorial Park, but that development never crossed I-630.

Once the library is open, it will be within walking distance of hundreds of homes.

“That’s something that the neighborhood sorely needed on that side of the Interstate,” he said.

“I view it as a community resource, an opportunity for an underserved area,” McClure said. “Now they’ll have a really valuable resource at their back door. I think it’s also placed in an area that needs us, in terms of programming for children and in terms of things that take place in other parts of the city that have fees attached to them.”

McClure said it will also be beneficial for the Children’s Library to be close to the Little Rock Zoo and War Memorial Park.

“We hope to be a good neighbor to them,” she said. “And the newly revamped War Memorial Park is wonderful, so a school could easily do a library field trip to the zoo and head to the park for lunch and play time.”

CALS hopes for the library to become a neighborhood pillar and haven.

“We want the community to come and have events on the lawn and for the kids to run around in a safe environment,” Rowland said. “In a way, this becomes the heart of the neighborhood.”

Mental Connections

Early on, the design team polled groups of children on what they wanted to see in their library, and many of those ideas were extrapolated into the current design.

“The No. 1 thing was learning how to feed themselves,” Rowland said. “The majority of these kids get off from school and either get home and their parents are still working, or the parents are not home yet. Some of the kids may not see their parents until late in the evening.”

That led to the development of a teaching kitchen. McClure said the kitchen will offer cooking classes that will help children understand nutrition and how to efficiently buy groceries.



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