High- and Low-Tech Changes Make Illinois Library Inclusive, Hands-on for Kids

A new, enthusiastic director of youth services in Illinois' Danville Public Library is hoping to engage young learners by providing a plethora of creative and exciting activities.

by Jennifer Bailey, Commercial-News, Danville, Ill. / December 21, 2015 0

(TNS) -- Step into the children’s room at the Danville Public Library and one can notice changes almost daily.

A new, enthusiastic Director of Youth Services, Rory Parilac, at the library is making the children’s room feel like a smaller children’s museum.

Parilac has been asking for hundreds of empty milk jugs to make an igloo children can go inside.

There are stuffed animals, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, children can play with, in addition to a wooden farm playset sprawled on the floor.

There’s an indoor Wonder Garden area filled with plants, and a caregiver/parent area with books and magazines in which parents might be interested.

Minecraft and other safe, free games also are featured on computers, in addition to board games.

There also are some new DVD selections, such as the popular Disney Channel show Doc McStuffins, and Lego Ninjago.

“I’m trying to make this room a real mix of high tech and low tech,” Parilac said.

She said story time for little ones is returning at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

A Barbie Club and Lego/block parties with wooden blocks also are planned for next year.

The children’s room already is brighter, with the opening of more of the window areas. The warm feeling of the children’s area also is welcome during the cold, winter months when children are more often cooped up inside.

Parilac has been youth services director since October. Former Children’s Department Director Vonna Bley retired after 28 years.

Parilac is excited about making the space more inclusive and hands-on for children up to 12.

The library also has a teen space for older youth.

Parilac came to the library from the Oak Park Public Library, where she spent 10 years in children’s services.

She’s from west central Illinois, the Galesburg area, and says Danville is very similar in landscape and having a friendly feel. She’s also lived in London, England. She’s been a children’s librarian for 13 years.

Parilac said when she came to the children’s room initially at the library, she thought “let’s make this more awesome for our families.” She wanted to see it more family-focused for all ages in a family.

She’s also been working with teen librarian Ryan Perez on more teen programming.

Parilac said she wants to incorporate even more clubs and programs in general for children.

“Our goal is to have something every day,” she said.

“I’m probably most passionate about the space,” Parilac added about the children’s room.

She said she’s had fun changing up the children’s room space to offer a parents/caregiver’s corner with crafts and parenting magazines, phonics and home school books and other resources. There’s also a baby area, too. The side room is for story time, movies and other activities.

Parilac also has been organizing the book collections, and there are study tables.

“We have wonderful books,” she said.

Parilac added that the Wonder Garden, inside and outside, is made possible by Master Gardner Lisa Abdelghani.

The library foundation’s fundraiser, From Page to Stage, has made 10 new computers possible in the children’s room, in addition to a 3D printer and iPads. Parilac said an iPad station for patrons to use one is planned for next year.

She said they hope to teach families more about technology.

©2015 the Commercial-News (Danville, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.