Wauconda Area Public Library's renovated kids department wows patrons

  • The newly renovated kids department at the Wauconda Area Public Library is called Kid City.

      The newly renovated kids department at the Wauconda Area Public Library is called Kid City. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Sienna Martin-Johnston, left, and Summer Martin-Johnston, play with a mock supermarket at the Wauconda Area Public Library.

      Sienna Martin-Johnston, left, and Summer Martin-Johnston, play with a mock supermarket at the Wauconda Area Public Library. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/6/2015 3:10 PM

The newly redesigned children's department at the Wauconda Area Public Library is impressing patrons of all ages.

Dubbed "Kid City," the brightly colored space is loaded with books, videos, computers, reading areas and play space that includes a replica airplane equipped with a cockpit and fun slide.

 

Kids walking down the stairs to the space, which reopened to the public last week but still is being finished, are audibly excited when they see the renovated department.

"Oh yeah, this is cool," one young boy told his grandfather during a visit Friday morning.

That's the kind of feedback library Director Tom Kern wants to hear.

"The reaction from kids, parents, and caregivers has been phenomenal -- they love it," Kern said. "We worked with our architects to come up with a playground for the mind to attract more children to the library, and Kid City is that place."

The 8,000-square-foot space occupies most of the library's lower level. The department was closed from Nov. 3 through Jan. 26 so the work could be done.

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It's part of a $2 million renovation at the library, 801 N. Main St.

New amenities in Kid City include a giant, wall-mounted touch-screen computer monitor for gaming, a play area that looks like a supermarket, a wall and table for Lego play and computers designed for young users.

New carpeting and furniture have been added, too.

And then there's the airplane, a draw for kids and adults who wish they could fit on it.

"When they come in here, you see their jaws drop," said Norma Hacke, the library's bilingual specialist. "The kids cannot get enough of the airplane and the marketplace and all the new things."

Count McHenry's Jordan King among the patrons excited about the renovation.

"I love all the bright colors, and especially the creativity center they have over there," King said during a visit Friday. "It's really awesome for the kids."

One element held over from the previous incarnation of the kids department is the large fish tank near the entrance.

"Our beloved 300-gallon aquarium is right where it has been since the building opened in 1997," Kern said. "We would never even think of changing this. Everyone loves these fish."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Soon, however, a sign will be added to the display that identifies the type of fish in the tank, Kern said.

Library officials are paying for the project with money from savings, a loan and a state grant. The exterior of the library won't change.

Patrons can learn more about the project and find updated information at the library's website, wauclib.org.

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