Our Next Chapter blog series will feature experiences that the new library promises in its beautiful new civic place schedule to open in 2021..

For our first series, let’s look at it from the viewpoint of a single mom and her daughter - OLIVIA & MOM:

A wide-eyed, energy-filled little spitball named Olivia begs her mom to get out of the house for the umpteenth time that morning. Knowing Olivia’s upcoming school project is about trees and how her daughter’s creative spirit needs nurturing, she decides on a morning full of adventure, breaking up their Saturday morning between the new Winter Park Public Library at the Winter Park Canopy and Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Arriving early at the Library parking lot, they excitedly exit the car and make a beeline into the park, Olivia in the lead and mom close behind. Surrounded by tall trees and wide-open spaces, they begin to explore every nook and cranny. While at the water’s edge and staring into one of the ponds Olivia notices a small patch of white sand and a fish hovering just above the patch of sand, sometimes darting back and forth but always returning to the same place. Olivia asks her mother what the fish is doing, and she learns the fish is a momma Largemouth Bass protecting her nest. They watch the momma bass for a time, fascinated by her behavior. On the other side of the pond, Olivia spies a blue heron standing perfectly still, staring into the water. A turtle comes up for air and disappears again. Oliva takes it all in, her mother amazed at her daughter’s curiosity.

Walking up to the library, they see Olivia’s schoolmate and her father, she too is registered for the mornings Full STEAM Ahead class. Together they walk into the Library lobby, sign-in at the digital kiosk and are greeted by a vivacious “learning facilitator” who then gathers and escorts the kids to the Imagination Center to start the class.

Throughout the next hour, the parents pick through their children’s weeks-worth of reading material they reserved online and meander over to the window-side reading area to de-stress and relax a little. 

Twenty minutes later and from her chair next to the window, Olivia’s mom catches a glimpse of Olivia and her classmates as their teacher leads them through the connecting trails and around the ponds.  Olivia and her fellow students are asked to identify and select one of the trees in the park and draw it on the tablets provided by the library. Ten minutes later with digital designs in hand, the group walks back into the library’s Imagination Center where the student’s designs are downloaded, and the kids are then able to look up information about their tree species and project their tree project on a wall-mounted touchscreen.

Winding up the class, Olivia and her new friends share their tree reports with each other, post their work on the library’s digital workspace to access from home or school.  The class then heads out to the café overlooking the park to meet their parents for lunch. Upon leaving the library and its environs, Olivia thanked her mom for the day's adventure.  And, Olivia's mom is grateful that learning was made so pleasant for her daughter in the heart of her hometown.