Last month was one of our favorite Connecticut events: Passport to Connecticut Libraries! We had fun going on adventures to a few new places, and returning to some of our favorites from the 2016 event. One of the libraries on our agenda this month was the Noah Webster Library in West Hartford. It had come highly recommended by our readers and I now understand why!
The Noah Webster Library is the main branch of three libraries in West Hartford. It is located in Blue Back Square, just around the corner from Barnes & Noble. I always find getting around Blue Back rather tricky so you’ll want to follow the library’s directions or your GPS.
If you’ve been to Blue Back Square, you are probably familiar with the parking situation there. Every time I go, I always use the big garage (Memorial Garage). If you choose to park there or on the street (metered), you will have to pay for your parking. However, if you use the Isham Garage, the library will actually validate it for you for up to two hours!
The Isham Garage is located just across from the back of the library. We entered from New Street.
You won’t need to grab a ticket or anything when you pull in, just find a spot and park. But you will want to remember your license plate number. If you have a memory like me, take a picture of it! You’ll need to know it when you enter the library. If you plan to stay longer than two hours, you can prepay at the kiosks located on the bottom floor.
Right across from the garage, you’ll spot a map. You can use that to navigate your way to the library, which is located right next to the map…
If you take the stairs to the right of the map, you’ll be able to enter the Noah Webster Library at the main level.
Through this door, you’ll find the adult collection, computer lab, customer service, teen room and reference. Since I have a noisy child, we didn’t stay in this area too long!
We entered at the ground level of Noah Webster Library, just across from the garage.
This brings you to an elevator lobby and you can find a directory of the library floors.
We headed to the Lower Level which houses the children’s library. This includes the story room, the preschool play area and the tween room.
Right when you enter the door to the children’s library, you’ll see the circulation desk to your left. STOP HERE FIRST! This is where you’ll validate your parking. You have to validate your parking within 15 MINUTES of leaving the garage, so this is priority number one! Hopefully you remembered your license plate (or took a picture)!
These kiosks are also located in the main library level by the circulation desk; however, I did not seek them out.
Once that’s out of the way, it’s time to explore! The children’s library at the Noah Webster Library is one of the biggest we’ve visited!
There are a lot of books! Noah Webster Library is part of the Interlibrary network with many other Connecticut libraries so you can borrow from this library with your hometown library card.
They also have several computer stations and study tables for the older kids looking to work on their homework.
To the right of the circulation desk, near the entrance, you’ll find a small seating area and a pretend bank.
The story room is located to the left of the circulation desk. Look for the big yellow bird! The Noah Webster Library has a great selection of storytimes and special programs for the kids. Many of them are even drop-in! They also offer programs that require registration and that you be a West Hartford resident.
Back towards the entrance, if you follow the path straight in front you, you’ll come across the be-tween room on your right. This room is for those kids too cool for the kids room but not quite ready for the teen room. It has study tables, seating, books, chess and other “tween” stuff.
At the end of the children’s library is the Preschool Room, a.k.a the fun room, a.k.a you’ll never get your child to leave room.
They have cubbies located outside the room to hang up your children’s coats, as well as coat hooks in the room itself. These come in handy on cooler days!
They have a small set of rules for the preschool room. The room does close 30 minutes before the children’s library closes. They ask that you keep the room clean for everyone and pick up when you are done playing. No food or drinks are allowed in the room. Otherwise, have fun!
It’s a huge play room!
There is a pretend kitchen, store and dining area. They had a ton of play food including ice cream cones and fruit. There was a fridge, stove, coffee maker and a mixer. The kids could pretend to sell and buy food. Or they could sit at the tables and have a pretend dinner with friends.
Right by the pretend play area is a small sectioned off room. This is the baby room and is intended for little ones that are not walking yet. There are soft toys, bouncers and other baby-friendly toys. The room has a no-shoe policy.
There are several play tables that had Legos, a doll house, a garage and one of those fabric tracks. He was partial to that one. There were tons of small toys to go with each table – so everyone could take turns and share. Sometimes, you find a train table at a library with one train or a Lego Table with a handful of blocks; they had a nice assortment of toys for each area here at Noah Webster.
There were a few things attached to the walls including a magnetic board and a ball ramp.
How can I not mention the train table. Yes, they have one. And yes, we spent the majority of our time plopped in front of it. Thankfully they have awesome seating in the children’s room for the parents!
The main attraction in the preschool room at Noah Webster Library was this amazing puppet theater! They had Peppa Pig puppets so he put on a little show for me at one point. It was very cute!
Of course, I cannot forget to mention that there are bathrooms located just outside the preschool room. This was a family restroom and it had a changing table.
If you or your child find yourself in need of a little time out or some peace and quiet, there are several areas throughout the children’s library with seating in cozy corners. They have puzzles, or you can always grab a book, and just relax for a while.
We spent our full two hours here – with a play room like the one they have here at Noah Webster Library, that was easy to do! This is definitely one of the best children’s rooms I have visited in my travels and I would highly suggest you check this one out!
This about sums it up…
20 South Main Street – West Hartford, Connecticut
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Children’s Room closes 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Be sure to check the library’s website for holiday hours, as well as winter weather closures.
*The Preschool Room closes a half hour before the children’s room closes
- Stroller Friendly!
- Children’s library is located on the lower level and is accessible by elevator or stairs
- Large preschool playroom, baby room and tween library
- Computers, study tables, quiet areas can be found throughout children’s library
- Storytimes and special events held often: check the library’s calendar for dates
- Parking is available at a cost at the Memorial Garage or on street. Parking at the Isham Garage will be validated by the library for up to two hours.
- Restrooms on both floors – changing table located near the preschool room
- Museum Pass Program is available for residents only.