CAMDEN—Last year, the staff of the Camden Public Library thought it would be a nice way to stave off the dreary end-of-winter blues by transforming the interior of the Children’s Room into an under-the-sea theme for Marine Month. This year, due to popular demand, Children’s Librarian Amy Hand and her Youth Services Assistant, Stefanie McAllister, decided to temporarily remodel the room again—this time, as a tropical rainforest.
“This year, we decided to do it in March,” said Hand. “We were tired of all the cold and decided our new theme had to be the jungle. We’ve gotten a great response. People love it.”
A lot of donated crafts and volunteer time went into the six-hour transformation.
“Stefanie and I raided our homes,” said Hand. “We’ve been collecting stuff for a while. Then, we reached out to Thomas Heath and the Camden Hills Regional High School drama department and were able to borrow several bags of vines, which was wonderful. We had local volunteers who cut out a bunch of leaves and all of the ‘palm tree’ trunks came from Cayouette Flooring. We built all of this on a Saturday night before March 1.”
The kids who participated in the library’s Rainforest Camp the previous month also contributed paper amphibians and butterflies to the decorations.
To walk through the room, one has to duck amongst all the low-hanging vines while gentle sounds of the rainforest can be heard through the speakers. The train table has been temporarily removed and every detail that remains in the room has to conform to the jungle theme, from the palm frond seating cushions (courtesy of McAllister’s patio furniture) to the converted giant lighthouse, which now stands as a tree house. The staff ordered as many rainforest books as they could find, so every corner of the room has some kind of stuffed jungle creature displayed next to the appropriate book or media.
Hand says that children aren’t the only ones fascinated by the transformed room.
“We have adults who walk through here every day just to soak up the atmosphere. Especially when it’s a cold, overcast day,” she said.
Watch the 1 ½ minute time lapse video that shows the Children’s Room transformation. “It’s getting crazy Jungle Booky up in here,” said McAllister on the video.
As for next year? “We have grandiose plans,” said McAllister.
For more information about the Camden Public Library, visit: http://www.librarycamden.org/
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com