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Children’s Refresh Project at Cook Park Library

a collage of three horizontal images. The first is the new light table, the second is the new reading nook, and the third is the new play kitchen.
Left to right: upgraded light table, family reading nook, new play kitchen.

Meeting the Needs of Children Birth Through Grade 8

We are thrilled to announce a major step forward in our Children’s Refresh Project at Cook Park Library in Libertyville! After hearing your feedback from suggestion forms and a 2022 survey with over 1,700 responses, we prioritized this project in our Strategic Plan.

Preliminary work began shortly after the Plan was approved in 2022, involving many meetings with the architect, multiple sets of drawings, and presentations to the Board. Through careful planning and budgeting, the Library Board identified funding from reserves to cover the estimated cost of $900,000 without impacting our operating or special reserve funds. These funds, set aside for infrastructure improvements, help keep our buildings well-maintained and attractive for your comfort, safety, and enjoyment.

What This Means For Your Family

  • Enhanced Engagement: Our goal is to create a vibrant, engaging space for children from birth through grade 8, making the Library an even more inviting community destination. 
  • Flexible Spaces: The redesign will include a large, connected area for activities, flexible spaces for various programs, and a more visible service desk. 
  • Efficient Use of Space: We will be optimizing our shelving and collection areas to make the most of the space available. The service desk will be relocated, and a nursing room will be added. 

Quick-Win Projects

Until major work begins on the refresh project, Children’s staff have been continually identifying small enhancements to improve engagement, including:

  • Introduction of a new light table: This upgraded light table replaced the older model for more light-up fun!
  • Creation of a new family seating area: The comfortable (and colorful!) sectional seating is near the fish tank and light table. It’s the perfect spot to read with your little one or choose a title for yourself from the curated display of adult books near the seating area.
  • Purchase of new, durable toys: The play areas are used by hundreds of children and families each week, which leads to lots of wear and tear on the toys. Our early learning team regularly researches and purchases sturdy, durable, and safe replacements, such as the new play kitchen in the Room to Grow.
  • Curated, themed toys and activities with rotation: Sometimes having too many items out can be overwhelming for children and caregivers. Each month, Children’s staff swaps out toys and activities in the play areas to maintain the quality of the toys and introduce new themes for learning. This also makes cleanup easier for parents and caregivers.
  • Introduction of new Play Boxes: Each month, a new box of themed toys and activities will be available for in-library use. Ask for one at the Children’s desk next time you’re in! 

Next Steps

At the May 21 Board meeting, Trustees approved a plan to begin detailed design work for the project’s next phase: going out to bid. The architect will prepare the detailed drawings and engineering documents needed to bring our vision to life. This groundwork is essential for accurately determining costs and preparing for construction bids, a process we hope to start late this year or early next year.

Stay tuned for more updates as we progress with this exciting project, including an opportunity to provide feedback on initial designs. We can’t wait to create a space that better serves our community’s youngest members and their families!

Have a comment?

We’d love to hear from you. Please fill out our Suggestion Form online or at either of our Library locations.

Categories: Early Childhood, Library News

Tags: Early Childhood, Library News

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