By Ryn Gargulinski
Triplicate staff writer
When 2-year-old Jaelyn McCorkle goes into a store, unlike some of her peers she doesn't make a beeline for the toy aisle.
"Now her favorite thing is to pull a book out of a shelf and find a spot to pretend to read it," said JoLynn McCorkle, who attributes part of her daughter's new fascination with books to the Del Norte County Public Library's newfangled children's section.
Thanks to a $25,000 grant from First 5 Del Norte, a commission that obtains grants for projects for children up to age 5, the revamped children's section made its debut in a grand opening just last month.
"We wanted something bright and fun and welcoming," said library director Patty Hector.
The children's section had not been updated since the library opened in 1982, she said.
"It was dark, the book shelves were too tall for little ones to the see the picture books and it just didn't feel like a fun place for kids," Hector said.
The original dingy carpeting was also still matted to the floor, Hector said, and the child-sized table and chair set was gunked up with black.
In addition to the refurbished table and chairs, the section now sports kid-sized shelves, colorful pillow cushions, a playhouse theatre, an interactive child's computer, and hand puppets that correlate with stories, such as Angelina the Ballerina.
"The kids love the dinosaur puppets," Hector admits, adding they also love the area's brightness. "Their eyes light up when they walk in and see what's there."
McCorkle, who takes Jaelyn to the library as often as three times a week depending on the rain said the new children's section helps adults, too.
"You don't feel your kids have to be so quiet," she said.
"Before, a lot of parents didn't take their kids to the library," McCorkle said. "There wasn't a big area for the children to play.
"I hope more parents and children go out there to check it out. "They've done a great job redoing it with the new carpet and everything."
Another new addition to the Del Norte County Public Library is the Jigsaw Puzzle Exchange.
The brainchild of library director Patty Hector, the exchange was pieced together when library workers found some old puzzles and didn't know what to do with them. They put them on a shelf, and now people are welcome to come work the puzzles, donate their own puzzles, or bring in a puzzle to exchange for one from the library.
Hector said the program, which has been up and running for a couple of weeks, has been a success especially with all the recent rain.
Library patron Jan Martin agreed. "I love to work at jigsaw puzzles it's an addiction but don't like to give up the space at home," Martin said.