Children who visit the Wauconda, IL Public Library have new opportunities to stretch their imaginations now that renovations are complete in the library’s Children’s Section.
The library worked with Product Architecture + Design of Chicago to update its children’s area, asking them to create a ‘children’s museum in the library’, says Jim Lonergan, one of the architect-designers. “We discussed many ideas but settled on offering experiences that children don’t typically have at home.”
Now children can play on a kid-sized airplane, visit a grocery store with operating conveyor belt, and fly paper airplanes via the airplane launcher.
The airplane, the focal point of the play area, is designed (and sized) for 2-4 year olds and includes a two-seat cockpit and instrument clusters with switches, decals, and lights. The cockpit features two steering yokes and a movable throttle assembly for ‘realistic’ flight simulations.
Passengers and airline crew can access the plane via stairs and, for a fast exit, take the slide located at the rear of the aircraft. Underneath the plane in the faux engine cowling is a custom-cushioned reading cubby.
Adjacent to the plane, library patrons can visit the grocery store that features a check-out lane and a crank-operated mechanical conveyor belt that transports groceries to the bagging area.
The airplane launcher features a conveyor that transports paper airplanes vertically and then releases them.
Other popular features in the renovated area include multi-color cubbies for book displays and a two-track racing ramp sized for guests’ Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. There’s also a vertical six-by-seven-foot Lego wall where guests can practice their construction skills.
Chicago Scenic’s Project Manager Jim Mallerdino managed the project; Mike Zaremba was the Shop Lead.