WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The first three years of life are extremely important. So, the Wichita Public Library wants to be a resource for families — offering educational toys and books for children and guidance for parents.

“Play is how young children learn about themselves and their world,” Savannah Ball, the library’s education and engagement manager, said. “It prepares them for reading, math and science and promotes healthy social and emotional development.”

Wichita Public Library has become one of the Family Place Libraries. Visitors to the Advanced Learning Library, 711 W. 2nd Street, will find the Family Place inside the Children’s Pavilion.

The network of Family Place Libraries offers free programs and services for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, parents and caregivers. The network includes more than 500 libraries in 32 states.

“The initiative expands the role of public libraries as key players in family and early childhood development,” Sean Jones, Wichita Public Library communications specialist, said. “This newly created space is specially designed for families with young children to explore, play, share books, and learn together.”

He said the space includes a fresh collection of books, toys, music, and multi-media materials for young children and their parents and caregivers.

Also, Wichita Public Library Family Place workers have been trained in early literacy, childhood development and family support.

The Family Place Libraries network transforms libraries into community centers for early literacy, parent education and family support.

“Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring their young children to play, learn and grow in this space,” Jones said.

Family Place hours are the same as the Advanced Learning Library hours:

  • Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Find more information at WichitaLibrary.org/FamilyPlace.