Getting children interested in reading can be an easy job or a hard job depending on the child and the chosen literature. While it is important to read to children from a very young age to improve their literacy and verbal skills, some children seem to lose an interest in books after a certain age and this can make it awkward for study periods or parts of school where reading is an essential skill.
While many children can read, considerably less consider reading to be an enjoyable activity. Reading is a fantastic, quiet and calming way to pass the time for all ages and it can capture the imagination and increase vocabulary in ways that watching television or simply speaking to others may not. By encouraging solo reading from a young age, you open up language opportunities that might otherwise be missed from just watching TVs or socialising with other children.
However to a child, many libraries don’t exactly look like very exciting places to be, even if you’re going to spend most of the time there engrossed in a book. Part of what makes play areas, theme parks and areas like cinemas and bowling alleys so attractive to children is the colourful and bright atmosphere that seems so welcoming. Libraries are built for peace and quiet and often have muted colours to help people collapse more readily into the books fantasy or factional world. In order to encourage children to start going to libraries of their own, you need to entice them with things that are of interest to them.
Bright, colourful furniture
Children love colours, the brighter the better. While this may not necessarily be the best atmosphere for adult literature, creating a bright and exciting environment including brightly coloured furniture will appeal to a child’s imagination and their sense of wonder, making them more eager about going to the library.
Themed libraries are a great way of engaging a child’s imagination, whether it is a space theme, a jungle theme or even a Wild West theme. Children love the idea of sitting in the midst of all the action, so why not create homework desks that look like old cowboy wagons, or have a big painted jungle snake wiggle its way around the entire room? Colours and scenes will inspire children, help them pick out books they like and perhaps even start to make their own stories.
Large and clearly labelled signs
If your children want to become a little more independent while at the library, it is important to make sure signs are large and clearly labelled with the different sections on them. Picture hints might be a good idea as well, for the younger ‘readers’. As a child, it can be frustrating to be in an unfamiliar place with no way of finding out where you want to go or what you are looking for, so clearly labelled signs are always helpful.
Free Wi-Fi/A Wi-Fi section
While reading is essential, it is also important to be able to cater to the needs of the modern day. Free Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi hotspots are essential in the renovation of a children’s library, as a place for study is not only for books and reading. Study can easily be done while on a computer or a mobile device and it is fairly simple to set up a block to certain sites to ensure that the Wi-Fi is not misused.
Comfortable Reading Areas
Bean bags, comfortable arm chairs or even long sofas are a great addition to any library. Bean bags are a flexible choice as you can bundle them together for a study group, or move one to one side to read alone. While plastic chairs have their merit for homework sections of the library, you want to create an environment where children feel safe settling down with a good book for an hour or two of quiet reading. For this, comfortable chairs and a well-established reading area is essential.
Whether you simply decide to renovate one corner of the library to make it more comfortable for children, or you are planning on a full scale renovation project of the school library or the children’s library of your town, make sure you tailor it to meet the needs of your target audience. After all, the children are the future!
Article provided by Mike at Sussex based Whiteleys Office Furniture.