Become Part of the "Learning Curve"
July 01, 2008
Become Part of the "Learning Curve"
I spent a special Saturday with Meg, Jan, and Lucy Wynne, the youngest of my 17 grandchildren. Meg is 9, Jane is 7 and Lucy is 4. Our destination was the newly renovated Central Library in downtown Indianapolis.
It was a very rainy day, so the library's underground parking (entrance located on Pennsylvania St.) was the perfect place to park for $2. It is essential that you take your parking receipt with you, because you pay your fee in an automated machine adjacent to the garage elevator.
The second floor where the children's books are located, is really the main floor. The information desk and checkout desk are both there. This children's area is called the Learning Curve, and there are dozens of different places to go to select age- and interest-appropriate books in many different languages.
The staff members do not sit behind desks. They actually show you the shelves where your books can be found.
While my grandchildren were making their selections, I decided to replace my lost library card. This turned out to be more difficult than I had expected. They had purged the computer of old cardholders and started a new system, so I needed a new card.
When you apply for a library card, you need to have identification with your picture and home address. I had lots of ID—credit cards, etc., but none with my Indianapolis home address. Finally, they accepted the address on my checkbook, which is Indianapolis, and the address of Indy's Child. I became a corporate member in the name of Indy's Child, and my card was issued immediately.
I returned to the Learning Curve in time for the announcement of "Story time in the Theatre." The theatre, located at the far end of the Learning Curve, is definitely multipurpose. There is a small stage at one end of the theatre and curved rows of seats on one wall. This is where young children and parents settle in to hear the storybooks selected for the hour.
The staff members are trained to read and interact with the children by showing pictures and asking questions. Sometimes our reader would just stop and ask the audience if they could guess what was going to happen. The kids all loved this, and were very creative with their answers.
After the story, the children headed to the stage and joined in with dance moves being shown on the TV monitor. They giggled and mimicked the movements on the screen for about five minutes, and then they went back to the books.
All the information you need about the Learning Curve and its activities can be found online. Log on to www.imcpl.org and select "Learning Curve." There you can find the daily schedule of programs including date, time, location, duration and age requirements (0 through 18). How about Introduction to Robots or a Haunted Adventure? Or Story Time and Theater Games? There is something for everyone. Some activities make use of a laptop computer.
Indy's Child Think Tank
As you meander through the many areas to read books, head to the Indy's Child Think Tank, located at the opposite end from the theatre. It's an enclosed room surrounded by a wall where you can problem solve or be an artist.
Ask a librarian for a kit of erasable markers. There is plenty of room for up to 10 children to work on the walls that all erase in seconds. There is a modern gray oval table for serious discussions and problem solving. Meg, Jane, and Lucy had their own projects and enjoyed the hour we spent in the Think Tank.
Lastly, we all joined the Summer Reading Program. My grandchildren were eager to begin collecting points on their Indy Adventures cards. Yes, there are rewards, and the point values for books encourage you to read at your level or higher. My grandchildren were eager to get books with 30-point values, but the books they wanted to read were 15-point values.
I got my own card. Why would a grandmother get a card? I volunteered to read to Lucy. She is 4 and loves books. Her mom and dad read to her constantly, and I intend to earn a few points by reading to her.
Bunny Book Bag
The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library has started a convenient, worry-free program for busy parents called the Bunny Book Bag. You pick up a bag of 20 picture books already preselected and prepackaged and return them with no fines. I think this new service is great.
The library is reaching out to all families to encourage reading. The most important thing you can do is spend time with your children. And remember—the best of all home schooling happens in the summer when you are totally in charge of their growth and development.
Happy reading! Happy summer!
Barbara Wynne is the founding publisher of Indy's Child Magazine.