Two Baltimore County Public Library branches reopened their popular Storyville play spaces on Monday for the first time since the start of the pandemic, featuring new hours, capacity limits and safety procedures.
Located at the Woodlawn and Rosedale branches, Storyville strives to encourage early learning for children through age 5 in play-and-learn spaces designed to promote school readiness skills, according to the library system. The spaces provide developmentally appropriate books, toys and interactive activities for children and their parents or caregivers.
“We’re extremely excited to get Storyville back open, families absolutely love it not just in the Woodlawn area but all over Baltimore County and the rest of Maryland,” said Zeke White, branch manager of the Woodlawn library.
New Storyville hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The facilities will operate at 50% capacity, allowing a total of 30 children and adults at one time. Wait lists will be offered for those who visit when capacity is full.
White explained the importance of Storyville’s educational environment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re having a great time playing but they’re also learning early literacy concepts as they play so it’s very much about school readiness which is more important this year than ever,” he said.
The spaces also allow access to learning areas that include a baby garden, “Toddler Woods” or “Toddler Bay,” a grocery store, mailroom, puppet stage and theater, home living and dress-up area, construction zone and library.
In response to the pandemic, new cleaning and safety procedures have been put in place to ensure the safest environment for families which include, reduced number of toys in the space, rotated toys throughout the week, toys that are easy to sanitize after use, and a bag for visitors to place unsanitary toys in.