Library commits to early literacy with grant for Coventry

William Conley plays with a toy kitchen at the Noble Neighborhood Library literacy playroom. Coventry Village Library will have its own playroom by the end of 2014.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System has received a $4,000 grant from the Hershey Foundation to be used for the creation of an early literacy playroom at its Coventry Village Library. The development of the space, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, will mark the first time the Coventry branch has had an enclosed, designated space for small children.

 “Coventry has a long tradition of excellent and well-attended story times, but families often don’t stay as long as they could because the children’s area has always been in the middle of the adult quiet reading area,” said Pat Gray, Coventry library manager. “With a new, enclosed space for young children, families can relax, read a story and talk while their children engage in enriching play with puppets and other literacy-based toys.”

The literacy playroom will add to the library’s roughly $150,000-worth of improvements at the branch this year, which include new carpeting for the entire building, roof repair, remodeling of the new children’s room and new indoor and outdoor lighting.

Coventry’s literacy playroom will be similar to the literacy playroom in the Noble Neighborhood Library, with items like a puppet theater, a play kitchen, colorful and comfy reading chairs, alphabet-focused toys and kid-sized book displays, all designed to encourage young children to engage in the five fundamental activities that build early literacy and get kids ready for kindergarten: singing, reading, writing, talking and playing.

“Early literacy, which basically means getting kids ready to learn,  is a crucial goal that Heights Libraries shares with parents, caregivers, schools, and other community organizations,” said Gray. “Our new playroom will give members of our community a fun and easy way to achieve it.”

“Young children learn by playing,” said Brian Hare, Heights Libraries youth services manager. “Books are important, but so is imaginative, hands-on, tactile play, and this new space at Coventry library will give children plenty of it. Boredom won’t be an option.”

In addition to toys and books, the new space will also have a design theme that will appeal to little ones and their caregivers, based partly on the artwork from "The Lord of the Rings" films by John Howe. Furniture, colors and other fixtures will create the feel and appearance of a cozy hobbit hole.

The Hershey Foundation, based in northeast Ohio, supports schools, museums, cultural institutions and other nonprofits that provide programs for children that improve quality of life, enhance learning and provide cultural experiences that expand understanding of the world.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 10:18 AM, 09.30.2014