Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Libraries as refuges for children

Cevan Castle is a recent graduate of Columbia's School of Architecture, and he participated in the Architecture League's collaboration with Little Free Library's efforts to make beautiful, free libraries for communities. His design was good, and his statement resonated with me:

Libraries are shelters for people, as well as books. Children, especially, rely on libraries as a safe destination outside of home or school. Books are not the only attraction. The activities that congregate in and around the library collection—such as storytelling, tutoring, clubs—allow children to connect with each other and share in a safe place. New York City is not particularly friendly to children. The presence of a neighborhood library gives our smaller residents a destination and means of connection. I propose that Little Free Libraries could help children find an anchor in an otherwise adult-sized landscape.

I grew up in libraries, and our recent experiences at SF Skate Club have shown me how important these places are to children. Places that are not school, and not home, where they can have unstructured social time with other children, but feel safe in the presence of adults. Libraries fulfilled that purpose during my childhood.

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