Come through the doors of CLP – Hazelwood and look to the right, and you will see a large metal art piece by Homestead artist David Lewis: a whole wall of animals amid the trees of “Hazel Woods”. It’s a great visual piece that invites children and families into a space that encourages literacy and learning!
Once in the Children’s area, you may receive a warm welcome from the friendly Children’s Librarians Sierra Baril or Miss Ellen. They can help find your favorite book, provide computer assistance, read you a story or just talk about how your day is going.
Recently, Sierra attended a week-long Family Place training in Long Island, New York to be trained in presenting Family PlayShop programs, and providing library services to young children and their families under the Family Place philosophy of service. Family PlayShop programs are a weekly series of programs that take place each Spring and Fall. During Family PlayShop, children birth to five years and their caregivers can play together with toys and activities that encourage creativity and healthy development.
Family Place Libraries is a national network of libraries who recognize that literacy begins at birth, and believe in helping to build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families.
After the training, Sierra redesigned the Children’s space to create an Early Learning section for children birth to five years and their caregivers.
Once a week, the Library hosts a Kids Club program where kids in grades K-5 can enjoy hands-on learning experiences and STEM activities.
Another friendly face you may see in the Children’s space at CLP – Hazelwood is Reading Buddy Mr. Robert. Mr. Robert is a favorite among the kids who visit the Library. When asked about his experience as a Reading Buddy, he had the following comments:
“At this stage of my life, with my children grown, I have the time to contribute my time in service of my community. The Reading Buddies program has provided me with the opportunity to serve the children of the Hazelwood community at the Carnegie Library. My volunteer time at the Library can include ‘read-alongs’, homework help, various learning activities or just talking about school, current events or sports with the kids. It is an enjoyable experience for the children, and me! The Hazelwood branch is close to my home in Greenfield, has convenient parking and the Librarians are always ready to help.”
An outdoor patio is the perfect space for a garden. Library staff, along with Edith Abeyta, Founder of Arts Excursions Unlimited, plant seeds with the kids in early Spring and then transplant the seedlings to the outdoor garden where they are cared for by both staff and volunteers.
In addition to the garden, the outdoor space has also been a place for activities such as Bubble Science Storytime with Miss Ellen, rock painting, UV fabric making, launching rockets with the Heinz History Center, running an obstacle course with the Pittsburgh Marathon and eating tasty summer snacks provided by the City of Pittsburgh.
Funding for library services and programs described in this article is made possible with generous support from individuals, foundations and corporations. To learn more, contact the Library at 412.622.6276 or carnegielibrary.org/donate/.
Mary Beth is the Children’s Services Coordinator at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She enjoys reading, walking and gardening. If you pull up beside her in your car, you may see her singing, unless she is listening to an audiobook.