Growing young minds at the library

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On days when there isn’t school or on a weekday afternoon, the Wilson County Public Library is a prime destination for children who are learning.

“It is important because the library is a place that can allow children to relax and engage with each other in a peaceful, productive way and learn something at the same time,” said Molly Westmoreland, director of the Wilson County Public Library’s six branches.

On the floor at her feet, children and parents sit on a new carpet around giant piles of Lego pieces creating individual projects.

“This Legos program actually ties into engineering and other kinds of brain activities, so they are growing their minds while they are in a safe place,” Westmoreland said. “I so want to get down there with them.”

This type of hands-on learning tends to teach by accident.

“That is a perfect way to say it,” Westmoreland said. “It’s learning by accident and having the tools to do that in a really fun way. It is also a time for them to socialize with each other. That is important for children as well, so that it is not all screen time but also face-to-face time with their peers. This conversation between them is so important now. They are learning to compromise, to negotiate, to enjoy thinking about things at the same time. It is really fun to see.”

On the second floor of the main library at 249 Nash St. W, the library has set aside 5,376 square feet of space and about 3,400 books specifically for children.

On a recent Monday when Wilson County Schools had a teacher workday, the library held “Monday Fun Day,” where computers and special games were set up ready for the children.

“The parents like to have somewhere for the kids to go,” said Mary Sue Taylor, branch librarian at the East Branch. She works part-time in the children’s portion of the main branch.

Michele Burns and son Kaiden, 13, sat at a table using the quiet time to complete a book report.

“We actually come here because there are less distractions,” Burns said. “At home, there is the dog and the TV and friends running around outside. There are just less distractions.”

Kaiden said it’s quieter at the library, and he can focus.

“It is amazing what they have available today,” Burns said of the library. “I think it just opens it up for all the individuals who may not have all the tools at home. They are here, and there are programs.

“Back in the day, you only could get books,” Burns said. “You came and you left. Today, you can do projects here. We were here the other day, and they were doing a STEM project.”

For more information about the library, call 252-237-5355 or visit www.youseemore.com/wilsoncountypl/.