Minneapolis Central Library
First Floor Children’s Library At-a-Glance
There was no children’s roomwhen Minneapolis Public Library opened in 1889, there was simply a truck of books at the end of a corridor. That mere book truck was the start of the first Children’s Room in a public library!
The intention of the design for Minneapolis Central Library was not just to provide space for the children’s collection and programming, but to create a literacy-rich environment where the architecture, furnishings and developmentally appropriate elements integrate to inspire curiosity and promote literacy and a love of learning.
The interactive elements in the Lerner Discovery Wall, with motifs from the diverse cultures of the citizens of Minneapolis, invite children to enter and interact, explore and discover – to play – the learning tool of childhood. The display cases give clues to what may be found farther into the room.
Dragonflies overhead and the blue river carpet pull children and adults alike into the room, which unfolds along children’s developmental levels. Oversized chairs and the couches in the low seating area along the north windows “Living Room” appeal to reading together or on one’s own.
The Children’s Library is intentionally named “Library”, rather than room or department, to emphasize that it is a complete library in and of itself with materials written at levels from pre-reading (picture books) through sixth grade on almost every subject found in the adult section. The collection includes 52,000 circulating and reference titles published over 10 years ago (shelved in compact shelving) as well as contemporary materials.
Easy Fiction or Picture Books:
This extensive collection numbers more than 18,000 volumes.
23,000 volumes of contemporary and selected representative works beginning generally in the 1930s, show the range and history of 20th century publishing for children.
This primarily circulating collection of around 30 languages read, spoken and taught in the community features Spanish as the largest collection. Chinese, French, German, Somali and Russian materials are currently in demand as well.
Grant funds from the Minnesota Vikings Corey Springer Fund and from Target made possible adding 120 books to the Braille collection in the Children’s Library. These books from Seeing Hands are standard editions with Braille-language insets over pictures and text and can be shared by both sighted and sight-impaired readers. Seeing Hands Books was created by a mother who taught herself Braille and “brailled” books to keep up with her blind son’s enthusiasm for picture books. The collection is primarily Easy Fiction, but Fiction titles include Holes, Tale of Despereaux, and Sarah, Plain and Tall.
Children’s periodicals extend back to the 19th century. The 1st volume of St. Nicholas in 1873 includes stories by Bret Harte and Sarah Orne Jewett and poems by William Cullen Bryant. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott was serialized in 1890s volumes.
OF SPECIAL NOTE:
Folklore and Milestones Collections:
The Folklore Collection includes around 3,600 volumes of folk and fairy tales, fables, myths and legends, as well as bibliographies and books about the history and development of folktales, and illustrates the universality of themes in cultures around the globe.
The Milestones Collection represents the landmarks, both high and low, in the history of Children’s Literature. Currently the collection numbers around 5,700 volumes and includes Sunday school tracts, McGuffey’s through 1970s readers, Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King and other award winners, various editions of classics, 19th century etiquette books, Minnesota authors and illustrators and ground-breaking titles on diversity of culture and family. Early children’s magazines, novelty, pop-up and unusual book formats, comics and examples of noteworthy illustrators are highlights of the collection. The Folklore and Milestones Collections are available for reference and research in the Mari and Tom Lowe Room of the Children’s Library.
Star Tribune Imagination Activity Center:
The Star Tribune Imagination Activity Center is used for library story times, Discover Saturday events, school-release-day programs, Summer Reading programs and more. Age-appropriate toys are available in the room for an hour after Baby Storytime and Preschool Storytime. When not being used for library programs, the room is open for play. Winding squares on the carpet decorated with A,B,Cs, circles and squares, along with the spinner cabinet encourage creating a game promoting letter and color recognition for early literacy development. The puppet theater wall and the puppetsinspire imaginative play and build narrative skills.
The room also features four activity stations, each designed to enhance early literacy learning. Each of the featured activities will rotate on a monthly or bimonthly basis and will focus on an overall theme.
Although many of the activities children can do on their own, each is designed for a parent/caretaker to complete with their child.
Early Literacy Stations:
Dramatic Play – The dramatic play area features toys ideal for role play that children can play with individually or with another child, parent or caregiver. The toys have been chosen to encourage interaction and verbal communication, building narrative skills.
Writing Center – The writing center features a mounted three-by-four-foot writing pad. This writing board allows children to draw and write using chalk or crayons. When children write or pretend to write, they build print awareness as well as letter knowledge.
Magnet Board – The magnet board is a mounted three-by-four-foot magnetic framed sheet, which features magnetic activities. This includes children matching pictures with words, animals with their sounds, and words that rhyme, all of which are made of large magnets. When children sound out words or make sounds and rhymes they are learning to hear the sounds in words, building phonological sensitivity.
Book Zone – The Book Zone in the Imagination Activity Center displays reading lists of recommended books relating to a theme and a visual symbol that can be found hidden in the library near where the theme related books are shelved. This is designed to encourage print motivation and print awareness.
Children’s Library has a large collection of non-circulating dolls and animals, with some furniture and toys that have been collected over many years for use in display in the “Curiosity Cabinets.” Posters related to Children’s literature and programs are also part of this collection.
Principal Librarian: Susan Glenn email@example.com 612-630-6027
Senior Librarian/Gateway Children’s and Teen Supervisor: Marcelyn Sletten
Marcelyn Sletten Senior Librarian
Carol Dosse Preschool focus
Margaret Hall School-age focus
Children’s Library iDesk – 612-630-6280