The Children’s Library at Denver Public Library’s (DPL) main location starts a new chapter on Sunday, April 24. The renovated space for young readers and their families features a deep blue river design hanging overhead, which leads families past a craft area, through books for older kids and a small media center, toward materials for babies and toddlers, before opening up into a wide storytime area. The green, blue, and yellow decor reflects the natural/urban environment Denverites love about their city; lily pad light fixtures contrast with cityscape decals on the windows.
Now offering more than 50,000 print and media materials, the reimagined space was designed to meet the developmental needs of children from birth through fifth grade.
Since the pandemic began, the children’s area has not run their full schedule of in-person activities. “That’s two years of not being able to get into your regular storytime, not being able to visit your children’s librarian—I think that’s tough on kids; that’s a special relationship,” Rachel Fewell, Central Library administrator says. “We want to get back to those relationship-building activities and create new connections with families who may have moved in, in that interim.”
Staff hopes to have storytime at least twice a week to start. Other programming will evolve as visitors use the space and give input about what they’d like to see. According to Fewell, the vision for this renewal of the Central Library began in 2015 with a survey of 50 community groups. Architects and staff talked to families post-storytime to understand what changes were needed and desired. The library was accepted by the Elevate Denver Bond program in 2017, and used the funds for a complete remodel.
“We were really trying to think about our families that are neighbors, and families that come to this location as a destination,” says Fewell.
Throughout the space, there are opportunities for play including rolling wooden balls through an oversized marble run game; crawling between aisles through cutouts in bookshelves; and for the very wee ones, grabbing onto rock climbing holds in the shape of alphabet letters. Parents looking for a peaceful place to rest or pull their children onto their lap for reading will love the new soft rocking chairs—which are also resistant to stains and kid-related wear, notes DPL staff.
Need to Know:
Celebrate the DPL Central Libary’s reopening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be live performances, special treats, and family friendly activities. DPL Central Library, 10 W. 14th Ave., Denver.