The Central (or Downtown) branch of the Wichita Public Library system has long been a favorite of Wichita moms. They have a fantastic staff in the children’s area and Ms. Nina puts on one of the best storytimes in town. Just days ago, the brand new Advanced Learning Library – the new Central branch – opened across from Exploration Place, just a few blocks from its old location. The new building is located at 711 W 2nd Street and offers some incredible features that moms and kids alike will love!
First, they’ve definitely made things more convenient! At the new location there is ample parking and NO meters – No more having to dig for change when you’re already running late for story time… not that I know anything about that. Parking is located on the west side of the building and there’s even a drive up service window to return books or pick up held items without having to leave your car. Another awesome feature is the children’s pavilion is located on the first floor rather than the third, and is over 10,000 square feet! And you just so happen to walk right past the Reverie coffee shop on your way in, just in case you didn’t have time for caffeine!
The new children’s space is more interactive and fun, too! They’ve added in a few light tables with letters, a magnatile table, some play yards great for younger children, and a larger space for the computers. There is an outdoor learning garden that will soon have STEAM learning activities and offers a space for outdoor children’s programming in the meantime.
Speaking of programming, there’s now a dedicated theater room for storytimes as well as a separate quiet reading room next door. The summer storytime session continues through July 27th, and the schedule is as follows:
Baby’s First Storytime (Music, rhymes, activities, and stories from caregivers and babies ages birth to nine months – 20 minutes long) – Thursdays at 10:15 AM
Nursery Rhyme Time (Children ages 2 and under will develop a love of learning as they sing, dance, and enjoy simple stories – 20 minutes long) – Wednesdays at 10:15 and 11 AM*
Preschool Storytime (Children ages 3-6 will develop literacy skills while they sing, dance, play games, and enjoy books in a large group setting – 30 minutes long) – Thursdays at 10:15 AM and 2:30 PM*
Cuentos Bilingues: Preschool Storytime (A unique storytime presented in both English and Spanish for ages 3-6 – 30 minutes long) – Tuesdays at 10:15 AM
Stories and More (Features songs, activities, stories, and a craft for children ages 3-8 and their families – 45 minutes long) – Wednesdays at 6:30 PM
*Please choose only one session
If you’re a parent of older children, don’t worry! There are dedicated spaces for teens that include a pavilion with comfortable seating for individual and group study and multiple computers for library instruction, technology skill development, and gaming. There are also collaboration rooms great for group projects (or work from home moms or small businesses!) and a “green room” audiovisual studio located on the first floor complete with editing equipment and software. The Advanced Learning Library also houses a “Tec-novation” room for hands on activities, maker programming, and kinetic learning.
Beyond everything listed above for the kids, the new library offers some incredible spaces for adults, too. The new “gateway area” in the center of the first floor offers a welcoming space before the library spaces open, as well as a beautiful venue space for special events. There’s a digital pavilion, a training center with a variety of computer related courses, a conference center that can accommodate more than 300 people or be divided into three smaller meeting rooms, and a beautiful reading terrace with views of downtown Wichita. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here and it’s amazing – Be sure to make a trip to see for yourself!
Make sure you never miss out on things to do in Wichita: subscribe to our weekly Wichita Moms Blog newsletter! Be the first to know about our exclusive events, special offers and discounts, neighborhood group activities and, of course, local resources and parenting voices powered by local Wichita moms!