Hi mammas! Today I’d like to share a new discovery with you that I’m extremely excited about… Libraries! Say whaaat??? Yes, you heard correctly, libraries :). And believe me, I’m probably the last person who would have got excited about a library -ask anybody who met me as a student ;)-, but that was before I had a baby and before I discovered how cool they can actually be.
If you think of a library, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Books? Maybe DVDs? Dusty shelves? Harry Potter? Well, fair enough. But what if I tell you some of them have entered the modern era to the point that kids would actually go there by their own will?
Last week I took Thea to Hovedbiblioteket, Oslo’s main public library. The weather was miserable and I couldn’t bear the idea of staying home all day, so I decided to give it a try. Two other friends joined with their toddlers and guess what, we had a great time!
The library itself offers what any other does: book and DVD rentals, study booths, Internet connection, etc. But this one in particular has an amazing area designated for the youngests. Toddlers are welcome, too ;). It’s located on the first floor, just outside the elevator to the left. You’ll find two connected rooms, fully renovated and decorated with nice and colorful design furniture. It’s super spacious and it gets a lot of natural light. That day it was extra cozy considering it was lashing rain outside!
What to do there? Well you can read books, of course. They have a huge selection of children's books. The best is that they’re not only in norsk, there’s also a broad selection of English volumes as well as a fully international shelf. There's aso a TV screen with some video games for oler kids, a chess board and other board games available. Toddlers can also walk around, explore and play. There’s sort of an amphitheatre shaped bench with pillows where our kids had a lot of fun. You can also bring a few toys along and let them sit on the floor, walk around, etc. Here you cans also find a program with all children's activities run by Oslo's libraries.
There’s also a designated eating area, which is furnished with cute little chairs and low tables. I found this great, as you’re not usually allowed to eat in libraries. And it spares you the whole hassle of having to pack, dress your kids in hundred layers, leave the place and find a baby-friendly spot to feed them. Uf!
Oh, and changing diaper is also no problem as there’s a bathroom with a table on the same floor. It’s locked, but just ask a staff member to open the door for you. They’re super nice!
Now, is Hovedbiblioteket the only children-friendly library? Not at all! Most libraries here in Oslo have a kids’ designated corner. So far, I’ve been in two others and I also really liked them: Deichmanske bibliotek in Majorstuen and Nesodden bibliotek.
The one in Majorstuen has a small space for kids with a table and low chairs. It’s located on an open space, but sort of separated through low book shelves, plants and other furniture that keeps it cozy and private. You’ll find a sofa, a toy box with stuffed animals, a lot of children's books and carpet floor. I went there both when Thea was crawling and later on when she started walking and it was fine both times. She had a great time exploring the new space and showed a big interest for the books there actually (yay!!).
The library in Nesodden is further away from the city center -we took a boat from Aker Brygge and then a bus, approx. 45 mins in total-, but it was really worth it. It’s quite big and very modern and has this incredible children playing area located inside amongst all the books. There are a few mats and -wait for it…- a huge tree for kids to climb on, jump from and play Tarzan on! How cool is that?! There’s also a walk-in doll house and some other cool toys around there. But this basically means, you can take a 10-year-old or 6-month-old and they’ll both have fun. Super handy for those brave moms out there that have more than one ;).
There’s also a really nice library in Tøyen, which just opened a brand new section for a younger audience, but it's meant to be used by teenagers only, more specifically for kids aged between 10 and 15. I even contacted them to see if there was anytime I could pop by with my toddler, but they were quite strict about the age range. But if any of you has children in that age, you might want to show them around there. You can check some cool pictures of it on their Facebook page.
Now, I’m pretty sure there are other children-friendly libraries around us waiting to be discovered, but I don’t know them yet. But I promise I’ll keep you updated and will inform you as soon as I find out about them ;). In the meantime, if YOU know any, pleeeease SHARE them with us!
Opening times - Hovedbiblioteket:
Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 19:00
Saturdays from 10:00 to 16:00