Storyville: Est. 2008, Pop. Yes!

Article excerpt

Anew town has been founded in Baltimore County, Maryland. Unobservant drivers might pass right by. No one actually lives there, but once they see it, visitors don't ever want to leave. It's called Storyville, the colorful, child-sized village specially designed and built inside the Rosedale branch of Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) to help parents and caregivers prepare their young children for school.

In describing this unique, 2,240-square-foot townscape loaded with hands-on play stations for babies and preschoolers, Baltimore Sun reporter Laura Barnhardt dubbed Storyville "a literacy wounderland."

To simulate life in a small town, up and down Storyville Lane children and adults together mimic everyday life in the two-story house, theater, store and post office, construction site, Chesapeake Bay waterfront, baby garden, and, of course, the library located in the center of town.

Babies come to Storyville to engage in peekaboo, play with colorful toys, or look at board books under the watchful eyes of a friendly, big brown rabbit nestled among colorful flowers; walkers and talkers crawl through a fallen tree trunk, read in a lighthouse, rock in a toy boat, go fishing, peer into tidal pools; preschoolers prepare lunch in the cottage, perform onstage in custom-made dress-ups and present puppet shows in the theater, weigh their produce for dinner in the store, and practice building at the construction site. Stocked with a variety of children's books and furnished with comfortable seating, the library beckons visitors of all ages to read together.

The official opening of Storyville February 7 was a dream come true for everyone at BCPL involved in this ambitious undertaking. Conceived by BCPL's former assistant director, Lynn Lockwood, the project took off three years earlier, under the leadership of the Foundation for BCPL's Debbie Thomas and Jeffrey Herschman. …

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