Rochester Hills Public Library Receives Donation to Revitalize Youth Room

Rochester Hills Public Library has an entirely reimagined youth area, with new Alice in Wonderland themed furniture, an elaborate 11 foot tall tree, and an updated Infant & Toddler Explore Area. The update was made possible by the generosity of new Rochester residents, former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda and his wife Doreen.

Artificial tree in the toddler & infant area with chairs and tables and mirrors

Elaborate 11 foot tall tree

“The support from the LaSordas is very meaningful,” said Library Director Christine Lind Hage. “The redesign provides a comfortable place for elementary aged children to read and study, advancing our mission to serve as a community town square.”

In addition to the youth area makeover, the LaSordas provided funds to create a new Infant & Toddler Explore Area.

“This is the perfect place for our youngest patrons—ages two and under—to play and discover their world,” said Youth Services Manager Betsy Raczkowski. “Research has shown that young children learn and develop through play, you might say that play is a young child’s work.”

Infant Toddler Explore Area in the center of a room with lots of color, windows, spinning gears at a toddler's level to reach

Infant Toddler Explore Area

The Explore Area has hands-on learning activities to promote the five practices of early literacy-reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing. Activities include a crawl through tunnel, spinning gears, chimes, mirrors, peek-a-boo windows, different textured surfaces, a climbing area, and an infant sized bookshelf.

“This is an exciting and welcome addition to our already very popular Explore Zone. The space features numerous play and learning opportunities for young children, however, we did not have a designated space or many toys for infants and young toddlers. This new Infant & Toddler Explore Area fills that gap,” said Raczkowski.

“What Rochester Hills Public Library does for its patrons is tremendous, an updated Youth Room and new Explore Area is a crucial component in helping librarians and caregivers lay the foundation for reading,” said Doreen LaSorda. “We are happy to be able to help provide our library with the tools they need to continue offering their incredible services.”

Currently, Youth Services Librarian Kim Gardner is creating a mural to complete the new Alice in Wonderland inspired space. A dedication reception will be held this spring.

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