Sunday, December 6, 2015

Libraries that use their open spaces for recreation

Here are some Libraries offering recreation in their open spaces

  Salem Library

"Last April, we started a program on Saturday mornings (9am-12pm) called Library on the Lawn, where we brought out ladderball, mini disc-golf, cornhole, bubbles, and had crafts and occasionally live music. It went through June, and we added it on Friday afternoons for the middle schoolers who walk downtown and also offered something similar for our Teen Summer Reading program (with different focuses for each week, like canvas graffiti or a cooking class in the City’s mobile kitchen). I’ve attached some pictures and some of the marketing materials we used this past spring. We’re going to do it again this spring, probably starting in mid-April (it was still pretty cold at the beginning of April!) and we’re hoping to have more live music on Saturday mornings.

We have talked about the idea of circulating games and recreational materials for use outside, but our library is very small and we haven’t been able to come up with a good plan for storing and circulating them. Maybe in the future, though – we’re slowly building a collection of materials to use for our outdoor programming anyway, so circulating them between programs wouldn’t be too much of a stretch, if we can coordinate the storage/shelving." Ann Tripp Salem Library

During the summer, libraries are a destination for families to play, learn, and escape the heat, but what about those beautiful sunny days when no one wants to be inside? This summer at the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) we offered a new early childhood program simply titled: Play Outside. Families with young children were invited to join us in our library’s green space for free play fun. Our library does not have its own playground; there are no jungle gyms or climbing equipment, just an open, grassy field lined with trees and bushes. With a few new toys and some repurposing of old ones, we were able to turn this empty space into a rich outdoor play environment for a few hours each month 

 One of the great things about a program like this is that it’s easily customizable as there are no requirements except an outdoor space. Our program centered on a multipurpose open space and manipulatives, but other ideas include: wheeled toys, music and movement props, play houses, balance beams or stepping stones, flower or vegetable gardens, and much more. If your library doesn’t have an outdoor space, consider meeting at a local park or playground. But wait; can’t families just go to the park instead? We agree that families can and should still visit parks, but librarians who offer outdoor programs have a unique opportunity to bring their communities together to encourage a love of learning, nature, and a healthy active lifestyle.


Altatmont Public Library

Harris County Public Library


Richfield Branch Library

Lawn Games
Thursday, September 20th at 4pm

A "Great Idea" comes to Schow

The sun is shining and everyone wants to be outside. Thanks to College Council students can enjoy the fresh air while playing an outdoor lawn game checked out from Schow Science Library. Yes, you read that right. The Schow Science Library now has lawn games available for you to check-out. "Outdoor games," an initiative that began in the Great Ideas Committee and coordinated by Rani Mukherjee, brings summer fun to the library. College Council approved the "Great Idea" and has funded the purchase of one badminton set, three frisbees, and three prokadima games.

Badminton birdie  

Copyright alicegop on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

 Check out badminton, frisbees and other lawn games at Schow Science Library!
The outdoor games are available at the Schow Services Desk and are barcoded just like our books and other library materials. Stop at the Services Desk and tell the student assistant which game you would like to check-out. Make sure to have your student ID with you. These games will circulate to students only with a loan period of three days. A three day loan period means you can check out a game on Friday afternoon and it will be due on Monday afternoon; a weekend of fun in the sun. Remember to return these games on will be billed just like when you return library materials late.

While outdoor games are not traditionally held in a science library, the extended hours of Schow Science Library and the already present ability to track items through our library barcode system makes this Great Idea a natural fit. Be sure to thank College Council if you like having the games available – there may be additional funds for outdoor game purchasing come fall.


Outdoor reading rooms

A number of libraries have outdoor reading rooms, great in their own right. How about adding jump ropes, hula hoops, and small fitness items?

Columbus Ohio

Be sure and check out our new outdoor reading rooms on the Tribble side of ZSR Library and on the Terrace outside the Green Room in Reynolda Hall! Take a break and read a magazine or a chapter from one of the pleasure reading novels.  link

Magazine and Newspaper racks designed for an outdoor reading room in Atlanta. The structures are mobile, visually appealing, and withstand the elements with an all aluminum construction.

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