PlayBoard’s Michelle Mc Gee (in her joint post with National Childhood Network) is currently delivering an exciting pilot project with Monaghan County Libraries. Planning for Play got underway in October with play training for library staff, with a second staff session held in February. Participating libraries will be receiving a 1:1 site visit next month which will support staff to implement an action plan to develop their library into a more playful space.

The aim of the project is to develop the concept of ‘Playful Libraries’ – using play as a mechanism to enable libraries to become fun, interactive community spaces.

The first staff training session focused on the play memories of participants, the right to play, what play might look like in libraries for children of different ages, the benefits of loose parts, and potential challenges. Staff also got creative designing vision boards, setting goals for the incorporation of play in the library setting.

Part two of the staff training kicked off with play audits – an examination of the current state of play in each setting with recommendations offered for the library to consider. The importance of children’s participation was discussed along with tips for creating playful spaces within libraries, and becoming champions for play.

Reflecting on their learning, training participants commented:

“Let the children lead their own play, we don’t need to have the ideas, let them be free to choose what they would like to make.”

“Play does not need structure, give the child space, permission and time.”

“Everyone is creative, simplest of items can get imagination going.”

We look forward to continuing our work with Monaghan County Libraries and progressing play in Ireland.