AVON LAKE

Families can now enjoy hands-on educational activities and in-person programming as the Avon Lake Public Library DiscoveryWorks reopened Tuesday after being closed since March 2020.

DiscoveryWorks is an interactive, educational center at the library with programming focused on children ages 3 to 13. The center normally draws over 35,000 visitors a year.

DiscoveryWorks Manager Linda Janesz said the library has been working on reopening since the beginning of the summer. “It’ll just be good to have the kids back in,” Janesz said.

A lot of DiscoveryWorks will be the same, with activities like a walking piano, a measurement garden, music pipes and a gravity wall, along with new small animal exhibits in the center. Communications Manager Shea Alltmont said the pandemic has changed a lot of the ways DiscoveryWorks will operate, including additions of sanitizing breaks and less seating to accommodate social distancing.

However, the library quickly adapted to pandemic life by offering to-go learning kits for children with different themes, ranging from science to literature to math, that supplemented learning at home. The library has 30 kits available for patrons to check out.

“They’re themed activity bags, so they have a book and a manipulative, and instructions for additional activities you can do along with the book,” Janesz said.

DiscoveryWorks will still have its hallmark displays, like a hang glider attached overhead, a turtle mural made of recycled bottle caps and a small model airplane that hangs from the ceiling.

Although many of the activities and displays are familiar, the center is also looking for input to make DiscoveryWorks better and accommodate the ever-changing needs of its patrons.

“DiscoveryWorks opened in 1994 and has not undergone any type of renovation since that time,” Alltmont said. “We feel like it’s time to look at that again.”

The four DiscoveryWorks staff members, who all have backgrounds in education, frequently attend conferences and gain input from museums and science centers to find new ways to deliver curriculum for children, Alltmont said.

DiscoveryWorks is open 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Contact this reporter at mheideman@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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