Heights Libraries to unveil new children’s area at Coventry branch

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System’s Coventry Village branch will unveil its redesigned children’s area, called the Shire, at a grand opening on Saturday, April 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. The free, all-ages event will feature refreshments, storytelling by children’s authors Mary Lee Corlett and Tricia Springstubb, and a chance for kids to try out new early literacy activities and toys in the newly renovated space.

At 1 p.m., Springstubb, a Cleveland Heights resident, will read from her two new books Moonpenny Island (illustrated by Gilbert Ford) and Cody and the Fountain of Happiness (illustrated by Eliza Wheeler).

At 2 p.m., Corlett will read from her book Belle’s Wild Ride: The Artful Adventure of a Butterfly and a Cabbie, which features a fast-paced journey through the Cleveland Museum of Art’s most famous artworks. The book was illustrated by local artist Sophie Cayless, who will also be on hand to show kids how to draw butterflies.

Heights Libraries received a $4,000 grant from the Hershey Foundation in 2014 that was used for the development of the Shire, the opening of which will mark the first time the Coventry branch has had an enclosed, designated space for small children.

“Coventry has a long tradition of excellent and well-attended story times,” said Coventry Branch Manager Pat Gray, “but families often don’t stay as long as they could because the children’s area has always been in the middle of the adult quiet reading area. With a new, enclosed space for young children, families can relax, read a story, and talk while their children engage in enriching play with puppets and other literacy-based toys.”

The area will feature a play kitchen, colorful and comfy reading chairs, alphabet-focused toys, and kid-sized book displays, all designed to encourage young children to engage in the five fundamental activities that build early literacy and get kids ready for kindergarten: singing, reading, writing, talking, and playing.

“Early literacy, which basically means getting kids ready to learn, is a crucial goal that Heights Libraries shares with parents, caregivers, schools, and other community organizations,” said Gray, “Our new playroom will give members of our community a fun and easy way to achieve it.”

The literacy playroom adds to Heights Libraries’s roughly $150,000-worth of improvements at Coventry Library over the past year, which included new carpeting for the entire building, roof repair, remodeling of the new children’s room and new indoor and outdoor lighting.