Post by Laura, Director
Why does your local library offer “toys” and not just books for kids?
Many libraries, including your Lafourche Parish Public Library (LPPL), are offering more and more “toys” as part of their collections. Why are libraries acquiring more toys, games, computer gaming systems, etc., and not just books? LPPL asked patrons in a recent survey what they would like to see at their library branches and one of the concerns was a lack in our community of fun places for kids to visit. Our libraries are meeting this need and more with the addition of these fun, entertaining, and education tools.
According to an article by Angela Tung, “The Case for Packing Libraries Full of Toys and Games,” a recent study conducted by psychologists at the University of Colorado found that children who engage in more free play as opposed to structured playtime have a “more highly developed self-directed executive function”. This necessary skill better equips children to complete tasks on their own without needing additional guidance and direction. These children will also be better prepared for school and the workforce. Free play also allows children to adapt more easily to sudden changes later in life. A recent article in the Boston Globe stated that people “who exhibit high levels of playfulness – those who are predisposed to being spontaneous, outgoing, creative, fun-loving, and lighthearted – appear to be better at coping with stress.”
So why play at the library instead of just your home?
The luxury of more costly toys is just not available in all households. Additionally, if your house is as overcrowded as mine – well… there just isn’t room for more toys! The Lafourche Public Library is continually working on creating fun, educational, and safe places for children to learn and grow. This is why we have recently purchased Lego tables with both Legos and Duplos, in addition to X-box gaming machines that play only E rated games which are appropriate for all ages. We are also providing iPad’s in several branches for children and teens that include educational and “fun” games downloaded on them. Plus, the library has also obtained felt boards for interactive early literacy. These activities draw the younger child into the library while teens especially enjoy the gaming systems and iPads. Houston Public Library system has seen a 15% to 20% increase in circulation since introducing “toys” to their libraries. They also note that struggling readers are more likely to feel successful when reading the text required by the video game formats.
The library has become a “third” place for children – between work and school – where they can learn and grow in part because of the availability of toys in the library. An added bonus is parents can look for a book to read or browse magazines or newspapers while their kids entertain themselves. Bring your child in today and see what we have to offer them and you!