Last week, Shawna and I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of moms who are part of the Avon MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) organization.
At the meeting, we enjoyed a lively discussion about our favorite topic: places to go and things to do with little ones.
One of the areas we discussed was the wonderful world of Connecticut libraries. We chatted about the places we’ve been and the great things that can be found for kids at these FREE destinations.
As many of you know, libraries are no longer just places where you check out a few books. Today libraries are full of books, movies, cds, and more. They also have play areas designed for children to explore and enjoy and most libraries offer FREE children’s programs whether they require a registration or are available on a drop-in basis. There is so much to experience at the libraries in our state, that Shawna and I find them to be one of our favorite places to take the kids.
I realized, though, that while we have explored a lot of libraries in our state, I have never done a post on the West Hartford libraries! How did that happen?
In West Hartford, we are lucky to have three libraries in town: The Bishops Corner Library, the Faxon Branch Library, and the Noah Webster Library. This week, I’ve decided to run a little series where I take you on a tour of all three destinations. Lucky you!
So to kick things off, today’s stop is Bishops Corner Library located in, where else, but Bishops Corner in West Hartford.
Bishops Corner is the retail destination located at the intersection of North Main Street and Albany Avenue (or Route 44). Over the past few years, this area of town has seen a lot of change including new restaurants, stores, grocery stores (there are 4 in this one shopping area!), and general refurbishments. Last year, the Bishops Corner Library got in on the action and undertook a $1 million renovation project. The whole interior got a new look, including the children’s section.
The library is tucked away on Starkle Road right behind the Big Y shopping center.
It is a small library, but what it lacks in square footage, it makes up for in convenience. Parking is right next to the building (and I have never had a problem finding a spot), the library is on the main level, so you can easily place a sleeping baby in a stroller and wheel them right inside (no elevator searching needed), and the kid’s play area is confined to one corner of floor (if your kids aren’t runners, you might be able to easily keep an eye on them).
Bruiser and Sparkles helped us get inside the building by pressing the button that automatically opened the doors (they love those things).
Once inside, we were immediately greeted by the checkout desk and a nice librarian who happily pointed us in the direction of the children’s section (to the left).
As I mentioned before, the library is small. This, of course, means the children’s section is small as well.
Surprisingly, though, they packed a lot of fun activities into that small space. There were doll houses, Lego tables, parking garages, castles, a play kitchen, and more. I will note, though, that I did not notice a train table at this destination. That was a good thing for us, though. Bruiser can become rather possessive of the train tables at other destinations, so it was nice that he had no choice but to focus on other toys here.
Sidenote: Sweetheart is like “Where’s Waldo” in the pictures below. Can you spot her?
The kids were enjoying themselves and I actually was able to sit with my friend and chat for a moment while they played. That was until, of course, I needed to take one of the little munchkins to the restroom.
There was a family restroom located right near the front entrance. It was nice and big with plenty of room for a few little kids and a stroller. It contained a baby changing table too, which was definitely convenient.
By the way, I think in the picture below Sparkles is attempting to wash her hands while sitting in the stroller. She is just so talented. Ha ha 🙂
I also learned that if the restroom is occupied, there is an additional restroom in the Senior Center next door. There is a side door that connects the two buildings and it is right down the hall. You don’t go outside at all, it is right there.
While I was there I also wanted to take a look at the children’s reading room where story times and other classes are held. It is located on the same side as the children’s section but on the opposite wall.
There are limited children’s programs going on right now at the library, but registration for the winter programs will be in January.
Before we finished our library outing, Bruiser and Sparkles selected a few books and a movie for movie night.
Oh, and don’t worry if you aren’t a West Hartford resident, you still may be able to check out books here.
One of the things I have enjoyed learning about the Connecticut library system is that even if you aren’t a resident of the town, you can typically still use your library card to check out books and return them to your own library. For example, as a West Hartford resident, I could check out books at the Simsbury Library and return them to the West Hartford Library.
I always double-check with the library I’m visiting, but have been thrilled to find out that this is the case. Now I don’t have to tell my little one’s that they can’t get a book while we are visiting a neighboring town. They usually can!
Have you had a chance to visit the Bishops Corner Library? What do you think about the renovations?
- Monday & Wednesday: 10AM-6PM
- Tuesday: 1PM-9PM
- Thursday: 1PM-5PM
- Friday: 10AM-2PM
- Saturday: 10AM-5PM
Please note that the library is not open on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Parking: Parking is FREE and available in front of the building.
Tips and Things to Bring:
- Strollers: You can bring them inside. Automatic front doors make entry into the building easy and the library is located on the main floor so no elevators are needed. There is not a lot of space inside the library for parking strollers, so I would suggest not bringing them unless you need them for a sleeping little one or to wrangle several kids inside.
- Food: Food and drink are not allowed inside the building.
- Classes: Library classes are available at this location. Check out the library’s calendar for more details.
- Restrooms: A family restroom with a baby changing station is located near the front entrance. Other restrooms are located in the connecting Senior Center.
- Children’s section has play kitchen, LEGO table, puzzles, doll house, parking garage, castle, computers, comfy seating for parents and kids, and of course, books.
- A few OAAM destinations are located nearby including: Noodles & Company Restaurant, McDonalds Playplace, and Westmoor Park.
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