Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Children's Room a Model for Others

The spectacular renovations to the Children's Room at the Plainfield Public Library were previewed in Mark Spivey's excellent news article. On Saturday, visitors got to experience the rainforest-themed room for themselves.

One of my first thoughts was how interesting it would be to children from neighboring communities who, with parental permission, can use the Plainfield library in addition to their own. Library directors and staff might also be very interested in the understated functionality of a self-checkout stall and the large movie screen set in a faux banyan tree, in addition to the enticing new look of the place. A couple of nearby towns are studying next steps for their own libraries and certainly the renovation here offers some lessons.

Of course, city children and their parents will be the prime beneficiaries of the new Children's Room and will undoubtedly be proud to show it off to visiting relatives.

I will not attempt to repeat all the information in Mark's article. Suffice it to say this was a wonderful collaboration of talent and dedication to Plainfield, from its design to its funding largely with private donations.

The key element is still books and they still need shelves, but the stacks are airy and open.

A custom-designed desk is set off with corner cages holding exotic creatures - the stuffed and plush low-maintenance variety.

Other denizens of the rainforest are visible on tables and in various elements of decor. The clever "tween tent" and the rope bridge over the former story pit get more interesting the longer you take in all the details, such as old trunks and a trompe l'oeil pond.

Asked whether the new design meant any loss of room for books, Library Director Joe Da Rold pointed out the long walls of shelves at the rear.

These colorful stuffed frogs represent their poison counterparts in the rain forest, but they are neither dangerous nor noisy (after all, it's a library). Click to hear Frog Sounds gathered by naturalists in the real rain forest.

For library hours and more information, click here and plot your own tour of the new Children's Room soon!



  1. Fantastic collaboration...the people who care about the library are incredible. I have attended their events and they are great people who care about our community. If only we could have a city government that cared half as much.
    $20,000 could have filled those shelves nicely for those who think its such a small issue.

  2. It looks AMAZING! And to think it is in Plainfield! Great job! Cant wait to see it in person.

  3. My daughter adored it. Many convenient places for her to read, and also to sit with other kids.

  4. The Children's Room is incredible--like no other in the state. Thanks go to Joe, his staff, the library board, all those who contributed to the capital campaign, and the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library. Given that more residents use the library than any other city agency, it is clear that our library is one of the most important resources Plainfielders have. The library remains the best news about Plainfield!


  5. I hope everyone continues to support the library which includes financial support. Please make your voices heard, especially around budget time to keep the funding coming. We have a terrible school system. This library will give the kids a chance to play on a level playing field if they make use of it. Be a library Champion!!!