It was with great excitement that some of Vancouver Public Library’s newest and smallest patrons helped to officially open Britannia Branch’s early learning space on a sunny Wednesday morning in April. Designed to support learning in children aged 0-5 through active play, the features of the space promote inclusion, inspiration and discovery.
The early learning space gives a colourful burst of energy to Britannia Branch that is a bright, inviting gathering place for little ones and their caregivers. The space includes interactive panels and activity stations that encourage curiosity and creative exploration. Also, cozy reading nooks support one-on-one connection with caregivers, siblings and friends.
Christina de Castell, VPL’s Chief Librarian and CEO, led the short opening ceremony for an enthusiastic group of parents, caregivers and young library users.
“Libraries are critical hubs that people rely on to connect with each other,” said de Castell. “As VPL explores the needs of patrons post-pandemic, interactive public spaces like this are becoming even more important for the community.”
Kurt Heinrich, VPL’s Board Vice Chair, recognized the Vancouver Public Library Foundation for raising the funds for the space and the City of Vancouver and Vancouver School Board for their ongoing partnership with VPL in the Britannia community. He also thanked the staff who helped design and build the space. “They thought about everything that would make this a valuable place for both children and caregivers,” said Heinrich.
The early learning space at Britannia is VPL’s second custom-built installation for families and young children. The first opened at Renfrew Branch in the fall of 2020. VPL hopes to open similar early learning spaces in all of its libraries over the coming years.
Once the grown-up stuff was done, VPL’s youngest patrons quickly went to work exploring their new space. Books were read, puzzles solved, building bricks transformed into imaginative objects, and coloured pegs formed into a collaborative wall mural by a collective group of budding artists. All in all, it was just another great day at the library.