Today is the last day of my West Hartford library series and I am wrapping up my tour with a trip to the largest library in town, the Noah Webster Library.
This library is located right in the heart of Blue Back Square and is also referred to as the Main Library. Whereas the other two libraries (Bishops Corner and Faxon Branch) have a section dedicated to children, this library has an entire floor dedicated to the little munchkins. I spend a lot of time at this local stomping ground so I am excited to give you a little tour today.
Before I talk about the inside of this great facility, let me first give you the scoop on how to get there and where to park. While the other two libraries had convenient parking areas, this location is a bit more complicated. Because Blue Back is filled with shopping and restaurants, there are a lot of parking options, but I’m going to give you my recommendation on the best place to park.
There are two parking garages in Blue Back Square and the Isham garage is the one located closest to the library. It is also the only parking garage where you can get your parking ticket validated in the library for two hours of free parking. So the Isham garage is where I park.
Once inside the Isham garage, we grabbed a ticket and made sure we put it somewhere safe so we could bring it inside for validation. We parked in a convenient spot and then could take either the elevator, escalator, or stairs down to street level (Level 2).
To get from the parking garage to the library, we had to maneuver through the garage, then head across the street and around the corner to the library’s back entrance. If you have a little baby or your kids don’t always cooperate for these types of trips, I would suggest bringing your stroller.
Here is a little diagram of where to go. After we exited the parking garage, we headed across the street and hung a right at the Pinkberry. The back entrance is nestled right between Pinkberry and Barnes and Noble.
There is a courtyard right outside the libraries’ door. It is a great place to enjoy a snack or a meal on a pretty day. Here is the back entrance to the library. The doors are automatic and there are elevators and stairs right inside. Bruiser and Sparkles have a love affair with automatic doors. They run up to them and yell, “open” and truly believe that it was their voice that gets us inside.
Here is a quick picture of the library hours. Notice it is open every morning, except Sunday.
Once inside, there is a choice of stairs or an elevator to reach the children’s level. I usually have a stroller in tow, so the elevator is the way we go. Just hit LL to take you to the Lower Level where the Children’s Section is located.
Here is the entrance to the Children’s Space. If you have a stroller with you, just leave it out here. Usually this area is packed with strollers, but it was looking quiet today. If you have a sleeping baby in tow or are traveling with an unruly set of multiples, you can bring your stroller right on inside.
Also, if you happen to be at the library for one of their children’s programs, the door on the left is the access to the large room.
Nearby is the circulation desk where you can check out books, movies and more. This is also the spot where you want to get your parking ticket validated. The validation is good for two hours of free parking.
Around the main desk are lots and lots of books.
And on the other side is another cute play area (a tea party and doll house) plus the second children’s classroom and also a family restroom (with a baby changing station). The space has a parent/teacher room filled with even more interactive activities. Plus, this is the room where I’ve found quite a few helpful parenting books. They even have a whole potty training kit back here complete with an Elmo potty training DVD, books for the parents, books for the kids and more. The potty training kit is missing one important element, though . . . wine. Wine should be in any potty training kit 🙂
Nearby is one of my kids’ favorite things to check out when we make a library trip. They have these cute little pre-filled book bags. The kids check out the whole thing and it includes a variety of books and sometimes even a coordinating toy. Just so cute.
But definitely my kids’ favorite part of the Noah Webster Library is the space in the way, way back. This space used to be filled with toys and books and sometimes it was hard to keep an eye on multiple kids while they navigated through the various sections. Over a year ago, though, they converted the whole back area to one giant play space. It is awesome! It’s filled with fun activities for the kids to explore, plenty of spots for parents to sit and take a break (or snuggle up with their kids and a good book), and it even has a separate area just for the non-walkers.
I only had Sweetheart with me on this trip and she had fun exploring all the toys and playing with her dad.
In this space there was also a separate area just for non-walkers. It is completely enclosed and full of age-appropriate toys. This used to be my go-to spot when Bruiser and Sparkles were really little. For this trip I wasn’t able to snap any pictures of the baby play area because it was filled with a few little munchkins. We try to avoid posting pictures of other people’s kids and the little ones inside looked like they were having just too much fun. I didn’t want to break up the party by asking if they could scoot to the side while I got a few shots. If you want pictures of the baby play area, you can just check out my old post here.
Oh and speaking of old posts, I also did one on the Baby Time class which is held in the large classroom. If you want a look at that area, check out the post here.
Before we left the library I, of course, grabbed a few books to check out and also made sure to get my parking ticket validated. Then it was back down the elevator, across the street and back in the garage for our trip to go pick up the twins from preschool. My quiet morning of hanging with Sweetheart was about to be over. In the spirit of Shawna’s recent visit to the Maurice Sendak exhibit, “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!”
Have you been to the Noah Webster Library? What do you think?
Blue Back Square
20 South Main Street West Hartford, Connecticut
- Monday – Thursday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm (Sunday hours go away during the summer months)
Parking: Parking is FREE for two hours in the Isham parking garage. Parking ticket must be brought into the library for validation.
Tips and Things to Bring:
- Strollers: The building is stroller friendly. You can park your stroller right outside the entrance to the children’s floor or bring it inside if needed.
- 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. The next sign-up date is January 6, 2014. There are two classrooms, one is located behind the circulation desk and one is up a small ramp nearby.
- Restrooms: Several family restrooms with baby changing stations are located in the children’s section.
- The children’s section has several play nooks, a parent/teacher room, a very large playspace in the rear, a gated play area for non-walkers, computers, movies, music, plenty of comfy seating and, of course, books.
- If you are looking to add lunch to your outing, you can enjoy your own lunch in the sitting area right outside the library’s back entrance or head to one of the venues nearby. Within Blue Back, I would recommend Moe’s, Whole Foods, or the Counter Burger.
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