Sneak Peek into the new Parsons Branch Library

My childhood library, The Columbus Metropolitan Library – Parsons Branch, closed their doors on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in anticipation of their big move to the new branch location at 1113 Parsons Ave. This branch library has been part of the Southside community since 1928. It was one 4 original library branches in Columbus. I recently had the opportunity to tour the new Parsons Branch and I am excited to give you a sneak peek into this addition to the community.

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The first thing you will notice upon entering this branch is that it has more than doubled in size and there is an abundance of natural light. Libraries used to be built out of bricks and had as few windows as possible to preserve the collection. The libraries of the 21st century are more about the community and the windows are an invitation for the people outside to come in and experience what this library has to offer.

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The new Parsons Branch features a variety of sustainable design elements. When you first arrive you will see the library is surrounded by rain beds to provide low maintenance landscaping and utilize rain water.

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The branch also features green design elements such as a water bottle filling station, energy efficient and adjustable lighting, and furniture made out of recyclable material. The chairs found in the children’s section (pictured below) are made of recycled soda cans.

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The children’s section is now separated from the adult/computer area by the entrance.

The children’s section features the following:

  • A dedicated homework help center
  • A 9 to 12 year old section
  • A ready for Kindergarten section including a smart board and a play school bus
  • A story time stage

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The adult area features the following:

  • A dedicated teen area including 2 Macs for graphic designing and 4 PCs
  • A learning lab
  • A computer section with 36 computers
  • A meeting room that can be divided into 3 sections with moveable walls. This are is reservable for anyone in the community
  • A quiet reading room with a fireplace featuring artwork from David Scanavino
  • Quiet study rooms

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The new Parsons Branch will be a welcome addition to the community. You and your family are invited to participate in family fun activities and entertainment to celebrate the Parsons Branch grand opening on Saturday, June 4. The dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony begin at noon followed by an open house celebration from 12:30 pm. to 3 p.m.

 

Ways to Say-n-Play Baby 6 to 9 Months

We now have have a 9 month old crawling around our house. How did this happen so fast?

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Now that baby girl is 9 months old I find myself reflecting on baby girl’s favorite toys and the activities from the past 3 months. Once she turned 6 months old, I remember looking at her toys and realizing she had outgrown everything we had lying around. (and so quickly!)  Here, I have listed her top 10 favorite toys from the past 3 months. Again, kid tested; over-analyzing mother approved…

  • Tolo Toys Rolling Shape Sorter: A rolling shape sorter that encourages baby girl to differentiate sound/pitch, colors/shapes and practice gripping, releasing, and sorting. She also has fun crawling after the shape sorter as it rolls away.
  • Earlyears Squeak ‘n Stack Blocks Baby Toy: These blocks encourage eye-hand coordination to observe and stack the blocks. These blocks have a brightly colored image on one side of the block while the rest of the images are uncolored.
  • Plastic Eggs: The opportunities are endless when it comes to plastic eggs. We have made shaky eggs (filled with beans, rice, coins etc.), filled the eggs with plastic chicks, placed the eggs in an Easter themed sensory bin, placed glow sticks inside to make glow in the dark eggs, and made textured eggs (glued feathers, google eyes, velcro etc.).
  • Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table: The perfect activity table to encourage baby to pull to stand.

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  • Rhode Island Novelty 2″ Easter Bunny Rubber Duckies (12 Piece): We used these ducks in our Easter themed sensory bin. Baby girl now loves picking each duck up one at a time to inspect the differences.
  • Boynton’s Greatest Hits: Everything and anything written by Sandra Boynton resonates with my girl. She loves the rhythm, simple words, and bold pictures in each of the books. Barnyard Dance is still her favorite!
  • Bright Starts Vibrations Teether: Baby girl is finally cutting teeth. She loves chewing on the gummy texture of these bananas. She also loves grabbing the handle and carrying this teether around with her.
  • Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Activity Puzzle: This is the perfect beginner puzzle for baby girl. The puzzle consists of 6 chunky pieces. Each piece does something different to stimulate the senses: rattles, squeaks, textured bird wings, mirrored piece.

 

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  • Playskool Play Favorites Busy Poppin’ Pals: A lever, beeper, key and switches are what baby girl activates in order to make the animals pop up. As she presses, turns and twists, she builds fine motor skills and learns cause and effect.
  • O Ball Grip and Teethe Keys: These keys are made up of a variety of textures which soothes baby girl’s sore gums and encourages tactile play.

 

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Baby sensory play is something I love putting together for at home activities. Below, I have listed all the ways we have played at home over the past 6 months. We have been busy!

Light Box for Baby: This is a great sensory/play activity for baby to expose her to light/dark and manipulating objects. You can build baby’s language while you are playing with this by describing what she is feeling and seeing.

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Smelling Jars: This activity allows baby girl to experience a variety of smells to continue to support the development of her olfactory system.

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Oobleck: (Cornstarch and water). Start with cornstarch and add water until you find a consistency you like. There is something mesmerizing about the consistency of cornstarch and water.

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Tops: We have tops that play music and light up as they spin. This is an attention grabbing activity. Use “stop/go” as you play with the tops.

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Sensory Bottles: The Voss water bottles make the sleekest vessel for a sensory bottle. You can make calm down or wind up sensory bottles. Hundreds of ways to make these bottles can be found on Pinterest.

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Plastic Eggs: We found so many ways to play with plastic eggs. Pictured below (L–>R): Eggs filled with rice/beans/coins, textured eggs, eggs and chicks in an egg carton, glow sticks in the eggs, eggs and chicks in an Easter themed sensory bin.

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Edible Finger Painting: Baby girl has a dairy protein sensitivity, so we used rice cereal mixed with kool aid to make finger paint. We have tried this twice and both times it was not a success.

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Water Play: Simple enough! We filled the bottom of our light table with a layer of water. We then used stacking cups to scoop and watch the water drip.

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Tape Play: Baby girl loved to build her finger strength and fine motor skills by peeling up the tape.

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Hot vs Cold: We found a variety of hot and cold items lying around the house. Dad described the items to baby girl while she was touched the items.

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Cooked Spaghetti: We filled the bottom of our light table with cooked and cooled spaghetti. Baby girl loved exploring the spaghetti. She grabbed, pulled, and tasted.

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Salad Spinner Fun: We finally found a use for our salad spinner! Pictured L -> R: Plastic balls spinning inside the salad spinner, glow sticks spinning in a dimly lit room, and spin art painting.

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