The University of Oregon Family Study and Children’s Library (2800 NE Liberty St.) is open now, and notably; open to the public six days a week.
In my nearly five years as a stay-athome mom in Concordia, I’ve longed for more walkable places to take my young kids, especially during the rainy months. I’ve longed for a place where I can meet other parents and not have to spend money or shop. For me, this library is a dream come true.
Tucked away on the second floor of the Library and Learning building, the room isn’t huge but it’s well laid-out, has great natural light and is stocked with more than 4,000 children’s books; many of which were inherited from the former Concordia University.
My two-year-old twins and I have made three trips to the library since it opened in late September. We look at books and roll around on the cozy floor. They love both the child-sized furniture and the oversized stuffed animals. On the first visit, they went especially bonkers for a never-touched copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Little Golden Books Ever!, a lovely book set of vintage stories complete with gilded edges.
We borrowed the set and it didn’t take long for my toddlers to destroy it. But it was out of deep love: one twin, Salene, napped daily with it under her chest and every adult caretaker in our family read the book The Gingerbread Man at least 7 times to her sister, Willa. Unfortunately by the time we returned it, the naptime snafu had led to some ripped out pages. But the kindest library assistant, Lauren Anderson, assured us that it was just fine.
“Books are made to be loved and used,” she said, when I explained what had happened. Although the library hasn’t been too busy on the days we’ve been there, Anderson says traffic’s been picking up. Two to three neighbors visit per day to sign up for their library cards.
Library cards are free and available to anyone in the state over 16 and they can be obtained on the second floor in the main library. Bring your driver’s license or ID.
Perhaps what I love most about the Children’s Library is that it’s not just for kids – it’s a place for grownups too. U of O’s informational materials say they want students who have children to use it as a place to study together. It’s a wonderful idea and one that’s smartly facilitated by the design of the space–there’s lots of soft carpeted open floors, big comfy chairs and wall-lined desks. A huge whiteboard fills one wall, begging for adult collaboration, and it’s also adorned with two dozen rubber magnets perfect for preschoolers and older kids.
The U of O Children’s Library is open Monday–Friday from 9 am – 6 pm, and Saturday from 1 pm – 6 pm. If you’re feeling as inspired as I am by this new public resource, meet my twins and me at the Children’s Library Monday mornings at 10:30 am. Let’s learn and grow together.
Leigh Shelton loves getting to know her Concordia neighbors and exploring ways we can better support each other. Reach out and say hi at leighshelton@gmail. com.