The Newton Free Library’s Children’s Room reopened Aug. 4 following a renovation and expansion that added 4,000 square feet of space.
The project tripled the size of the space to accommodate more people to attend library storytimes and other events, according to a library statement. It was supported with $2 million in federal pandemic aid provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said.
“This project is important as our little ones need a place to gather, socialize, learn and have fun with other children after the isolation of the pandemic,” Fuller said.
The renovated and expanded space is about 12,700 square feet, according to Josh Morse, Newton’s public buildings commissioner. That includes the main children’s area, the craft and story room, staff offices, expanded family restrooms, and storage space, he said.
The project refurnished the children’s room with seating areas that offer views of plantings in the Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends Sculpture Garden. There is also an enclosed activity space featuring a child-sized built-in play kitchen, a brightly colored LED mural with a shining sun, and seating for caregivers.
During the reopening last week, children were able to participate in a scavenger hunt, enjoy balloon art, face painting, a puppet show, and cake with ice cream. Close to 1,000 people visited the renovated space on opening day, the library said.
In a regular year, more than 500,000 items are borrowed from the Newton Free Library Children’s Room, according to the library.
“The community’s love of reading makes us one of the busiest Children’s Rooms in the state — in fact, if the Children’s Room were its own library it would be the 14th busiest library building in Massachusetts,” the statement said.
John Hilliard can be reached at email@example.com.