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TMCNet:  New library encourages brain stimulation

[February 25, 2013]

New library encourages brain stimulation

Feb 25, 2013 (St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A unique library at the city's Downtown branch is promoting brain stimulation in young children by offering interactive activities and books.

The Family Place library celebrated its official opening Monday morning with a ribbon cutting hosted by the St. Joseph Metro Chamber. The free interactive space is located in the children's area at the St. Joseph Public Library's downtown branch, 927 Felix Street.


"It's a really big deal for us," said Dee Zvolanek, department manager of children's services. "We really believe in early literacy and we have to do the best we can to get our kids ready for reading." The library, a first of its kind in Missouri, offers interactive learning for children newborn to six years old and their parents, who are required to accompany and play with their children.

Situated in a small corner of the children's department, the Family Place is equipped with educational toys, such as building blocks and puzzles, as well as games that "emulate what kids see in the real world," such as a kitchenette and a grocery store. It's also filled, of course, with books that promote learning subjects like numbers, shapes and colors.

But it's also advantageous for parents, who benefit from engaging with their kids and learning how to prepare them to further their education and life skills, Ms. Zvolanek said. The Family Place space also has books available for checkout for parents, including "The Positive Parent," "Brain Rules for Baby" and "Baby Sign Language Basics." The special library is accredited by Family Place Libraries, a national organization who's mission is to promote life-long learning. It's currently located in 23 states and St. Joseph is the first library in Missouri to receive accreditation and training.

"We all know we have a problem with literacy here," Ms. Zvolanek said. "We try anything we can as a library to help promote literacy in our community." The Family Place Library was paid for by the St. Joseph Public Library Foundation. It's open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Kim Norvell can be reached at kim.norvell@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPNorvell.

___ (c)2013 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html Distributed by MCT Information Services

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