Thinking outside the library

Tammy Kranz
Posted 9/27/12

Anythink libraries sure aren’t the ones most adults remember visiting while growing up. Here, patrons just don’t check out books, but are …

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Thinking outside the library

Posted

Anythink libraries sure aren’t the ones most adults remember visiting while growing up.

Here, patrons just don’t check out books, but are encouraged to lounge around, hang out and … yes, make noise.

“We bring the community in and they can make it their space,” said Lynda Freas, family services director. “We’re not the ‘shhhhh’ kind of library at all.”

In keeping with making the library for creating, and not just a static area, Anythink Wright Farms Library, 5877 E. 120th Ave. in Thornton, has opened a Nature Explore Classroom. The official opening day was Monday.

Sections of the library’s yard are now designated as different areas — “Splash,” “Build,” “Plant,” etc. — to help children to get connected with the outdoors through climbing, building and

exploring activities.

“It’s to get people outside, and use their imagination,” Freas said. “The theory and the fact is that kids don’t get outside much like they used to.”

Ken Devine, writer and editor with Anythink, said, “There’s just so many distractions these days, it’s easy to not go outdoors. It’s a children’s area but it seems to draw teenagers and people of other ages.”

Freas said that over the summer, there were 2,393 attendees to the library’s children’s programs. She wasn’t sure the daily average of children visitors to the library.

Each space has a purpose, however, Freas described the concept of the areas as “simple.” The “Splash” area consists of a bridge and an old fashioned water pump. The “Play” area features

a marimba.

“It’s a natural sound, so it’s not irritating,” Freas said.

The yard is not a contained space so it will be open to the public at any time.

“It’s not cookie cutter at all, there won’t be one that looks like this anywhere else,” Devine said.

The area cost about $96,000, and was funded through Adams County Open Space, the Wright Farms Metropolitan District, Anythink Foundation and community donors.

Officials are planning on installing Nature Explore areas in two other libraries — Anythink Brighton and Anythink Commerce City — once funding becomes available.

Nature Explore is a joint program by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Dimensions Educational Research

Foundation.

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