Kids’ eyes light up with surprise when they cruise through our nonfiction area and find Tyrannosaurus Rex legs standing in the stacks. An octopus-wrapped aquarium and a school bus pulling up to a schoolhouse add to their fascination. Truth be told, adults dig the new Kids Library too. Come in and see for yourself the changes to the Kids Library.
The transformation, which includes five 3D structures in all, was paid for by $200,000 in private donations, the approximate cost of the project. A grand opening was held Oct. 12 honoring those who contributed. The Kids Library has enjoyed a long history of support from the community. Both the recent donors and an earlier set of donors to the Kids Library are listed below.
“As a committed volunteer, I find it easy to talk with people in the community who are interested in supporting the library because it’s something everyone can connect to,” said Jeanne Slusher, Chair of The Library Foundation Board. “It’s such a positive and engaging place to bring your kids that everyone in the community can enjoy.”
The Kids Library is space for learning and exploration. The murals and the 3D installations all tie to books on the shelves. Those books, the artwork and the other interactive “play” stations (seemingly found around each corner) grow with your child as you move around the Kids Library.
“Junior League has enjoyed a great relationship with the library, and it is such a valued asset to the community. We are so excited about being part of the Kids Library and helping make it the best it can be,” said Stacie Borjon, president of the Junior League of Topeka, who gave $75,000 to the Kids Library project in 2012 as part of their 75th Anniversary Gift to the Community.
More than 100 kids and adults came out during the Grand Opening to explore the new space and celebrate.
Matthew Bergmann, President of the Topeka Active 20-30 Club, said his kids’ favorite attractions were the school bus and the dinosaur.
“It’s great to help impact kids’ lives and make the community a better place,” he said. “We hope kids enjoy this and hope the library continues to expand.”
Seeing the organization’s dollars at work in such a visible way was meaningful for him and other members, he added. Topeka Active 20-30 Club is a donor to the Kids Library in more than one way. The club supported the establishment of the Oveson-Campbell Homework Center in 2006.
Back near the Homework Center, a new space has been designed to spark an interest in science. A glass-blown solar system hangs from the ceiling among a twinkling star field. The artist behind the solar system, Doug Sheafor, owner of AlBo Glass, 433 SW Woodlawn, was pleased with how the library’s promoting learning using his artwork.
“I hope that everything about the Kids Library inspires them to learn and increases their curiosity about the world around them. I bet it already has,” Sheafor said.
He said creating the planets took him and his crew, which included his son and daughter, about three months.
A New Chapter | 2013 | Thank You Donors!
75th Anniversary Gift to the Community by the Junior League of Topeka
Estate of Patricia “Pat” Bump
David J’s Mom
Topeka Active 20-30 Club
Doug Sheafor and AlBo Glass
Friends of the Library
The Library Foundation
Once Upon a Time | 2002
The Kids Library began with the generous support of these major donors:
Susan and Kent Garlinghouse
Tim and Jett Elmber
Robert M. and Hazel F. Lingo
Eldon and Harriet Sloan