New Children's Library To Encourage Experiential Learning

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

Taking that idea further, a greenhouse and garden was built on the edge of the library’s property, which will be used to help children understand how food travels from the farm to the kitchen.

“What we’re doing is forming connections in the minds of kids,” McClure said. “So they’ll say, ‘Oh, wow, this is no big deal to put a garden in our back yard, because at the library it’s all we did.’ We’re trying to connect the things kids learn in school with the more hands-on, inspiring things at the library.”

Other features include a 100-150 seat performance theater on the building’s east side, a 14-unit computer lab and several spaces for projects, meetings and story time. The lower level has a 2,500-SF shell space that can be expanded in the future.

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” Gele said. “There are already children’s theater programs going on, and cooking lessons, but many of those have costs attached. Here we’ll be able to offer some opportunities for children who may not be able to pay for the same kinds of amenities.”


The library has room for growth, McClure said.

“There’s talk of more hands-on learning spaces at a higher level,” she said. “Maybe a 3-D printer, or some kind of workshop where kids can come in and we build a birdhouse — different things that get kids using their hands and brains.”

Outside of the library, Rowland would like to create safe pedestrian passage over I-630 to War Memorial and the zoo. The existing right-of-way, Jonesboro Drive, is five lanes of heavy traffic, and that’s not ideal for kids.

Rowland’s vision is to turn half the bridge into a walking and biking lane, then lead Jonesboro Drive to a traffic circle and other slowing elements near the library. The walking lane would be decorated with lights, trees and silhouettes of animals from the nearby zoo.

There’s no money for it yet, Rowland said, but his firm is pushing for this to be the next phase of the library’s development.

“It’s something we’re pretty passionate about,” he said.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.