Bartlett Family Loves Library's Screen-Free Play Area
Tracy Kasten and her family moved to Bartlett just a little over three years ago in order to be near family; they really love the small town feel of Bartlett, and the fact that they're putting down their roots.
With twins Marie (5) and George (5) Kasten, Tracy and her husband are busy going out and about a majority of the week. They bring Marie and George to parks and friends' houses to play. They also visit various libraries, one of which is the Bartlett Public Library District.
However, unlike a majority of the other places they visit, there is no immediate access to tablets at the Bartlett Library. Instead, they are housed behind the Youth & Teen Services Desk and need to be checked out with a library card if use of them is desired.
"We come to the Bartlett Library to avoid screen time," Tracy said. "They read books, do crafts, and I don't have to worry about them wanting to go back to the screen."
The Bartlett Library used to have a tablet readily available for children to use. However, after they removed it, many patrons thanked the librarians for doing so.
"Kids are using their imagination when they play here," Youth & Teen Services Manager Ruth Anne Mielke said. "They don't unlock their creativity as much when they're looking at a screen."
"When they're here, they're talking with other kids, and that socialization is important," Youth & Teen Services Associate Brian Erlich said.
In the Youth & Teen Services Department, there is the Art Room, which the Bartlett Library is one of the only libraries around to have this service, and there are many toys that children can play with, including: puzzles, blocks, puppets, a Velcro wall, a magnet board with letters, a dollhouse and kitchen set with fake food.
Items held behind the Youth & Teen Services Desk that children can play with include: Magna-tiles, tracing practice mazes, a chess set, castle blocks and wooden pattern blocks.
Marie had a hard time choosing her favorite part of the Youth & Teen Services Department because she enjoys it all. George's favorite section is the Art Room.
"It's always nice and stocked," Tracy said about the Art Room, which the librarians keep stocked with all sorts of crafting materials like paper, crayons, cotton balls, feathers, yarn, wooden sticks, pipe cleaners and more.
Both Marie and George also enjoy the Take & Makes when they are available, which are craft pieces bundled together in bags that patrons can take home to put together and enjoy.
Aside from crafting, the Kasten family will take home plenty of books for bedtime reading. Whether it's a few chapters in a chapter book or a couple of different picture books, they make sure to try and set that time aside.
"Instilling a love of literacy when they're young is important," Tracy said. "That's what's great about the library; you don't have to commit to buy books."
For information and a complete listing of scheduled programs, call 630.837.2855 or visit www.bartlettlibrary.org.