Reading area design is kid-friendly

Library spruces up its section for children to make books more enticing

REDWOOD CITY — Caterpillar-striped benches with silvery legs are poised by computers for toddlers while whimsical animals teach letters, numbers and colors from their perches on brightly-painted columns in the new children’s center at the Redwood City Main Library.

The kids’ area in the Main Library has been closed since August to reinvent the popular center, a $100,000 project aimed at making a more comfortable and welcoming library experience for children and their parents. Typically, on any given afternoon, 50 to 100 kids are in the center, checking out books, surfing the Internet or finishing their homework, according to Youth Services Director Chuck Ashton.

“It’s so much more user-friendly,” Ashton said, gazing across the new space as workers put the finishing touches on the center for its grand opening Saturday. “There are so many things reading has to compete with, from television to sports, so you have to make it as attractive as possible.”

The renovations — primarily paid for through the library’s capital-improvement funds — are in line with ongoing upgrades throughout Redwood City’s libraries, which aim to create more of a friendly, bookstore feel.

Those changes have paid off, boosting library activity more than 30 percent, according to Director Dave Genesy.

They’re also a delight to residents like Liz Henry, who frequents the Main Library with her 6-year-old son, Milo.

“Our library is a great community center,” Henry said. “What’s good about the kids’ room is that they can look around independently and understand how to find something that’s exciting for them.”

Improvements to the Main Library’s Teen Center are next, according to Genesy, who will be finalizing those designs in the next three months.

“It will be a place for teens to feel welcome. They don’t have a space of their own,” Genesy said.

The Grand Opening on Saturday will kick off with a ribbon-cutting at 10:15 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. Performers include author Gianna Marino, singer Lisa Atkinson, The Reptile Lady and magician Daffy Dave. The library is at 1044 Middlefield Road.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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