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Friday
Jan282011

Great Libraries! Messenger Public Library in North Aurora

When it comes to library buildings, it’s hard to top one that has a screened-in porch. Books + Porch = I’m in heaven!

The Messenger Public Library in North Aurora.The Messenger Public Library in North Aurora actually has two charming screened-in porches, including one in the Youth Services department. They feature wooden furniture -- one even has a swing! The porches have storm windows in right now and are open year-round, although I’m told they are indeed chilly during the depths of winter. I’m especially looking forward to visiting in the spring to read books with my daughter on the porch swing and listen to the birds singing in the nearby woods.

The Messenger Public Library is located at 113 Oak Street, right along Route 31. It’s named after Emeline Schnelder Messenger, who nurtured what was then called the North Aurora Public Library for nearly 50 years. And it has a lot more than the screened-in porches to offer.

It’s such a beautiful structure – built less than 10 years ago – that when we first moved here, I drove by numerous times and admired it before realizing it was a public library and I could go inside!

It’s a one-story building, clad in stone. There’s a “Quiet Reading Room” featuring a gorgeous stone fireplace. It has a community room that can be reserved for meetings. And it’s just one of those libraries that gives off a cheery, friendly vibe – even on the recent cold, gray day when my daughter and I visited.

The play area at Messenger Public Library. Photo by Tara Burghart.Of course you’re probably most interested in the Youth Services department. It’s roomy and bright with huge walls of windows. There is a giant rug where kids can sit and play with the puzzles, trucks, trains and other assorted toys kept on nearby shelves. There are lots of small tables and chairs for reading, as well as at least a half-dozen computers on tiny desks. The computers are loaded with educational games featuring classic characters like Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

But what’s probably best of all about the Messenger Public Library is how inclusive it is. The two librarians I chatted with in the Youth Services department were so friendly and warm, and they made sure I knew we could actually check out books using our Geneva Public Library card as “reciprocal borrowers.”

Also, the events the library hosts are not restricted to North Aurora residents. That includes a number of storytimes the library holds each month for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and children in grade school. You can register online through the library’s calendar or by calling 630-801-2347; unlike many other libraries, you register for each individual storytime date, as opposed to say, registering for an entire 6-week session, making it more likely there will be openings.

The computers have children's educational software loaded on them. Photo by Tara Burghart.Registration usually opens about 10 days before the individual storytime session –making this a great option for Go West readers who don’t live in a library district; those looking to add a fun event during a slow week; or those who tried to register for a storytime at their own town’s library and found it was full.

I don’t include Messenger Public Library’s storytimes on the Go West calendar because you do have to register in advance, but you can find more info about them on the library’s calendar or in its newsletters. And you will find info on Messenger’s drop-in events on the Go West calendar, including the monthly “Lego Club” on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. and sponsored by the North Aurora Mother’s Club.

If you decide to stop by the Messenger Public Library someday, I know you and your kids won’t be disappointed. See you on the screened-in porch!

Our “Great Parks!” series was so popular this fall that we decided to launch a new series this winter called “Great Libraries!” It will run on Fridays until spring, and each week we will profile a library that offers something special worth checking out – even if you don’t live within its boundaries. If you have a library you think we should feature, please write to editor@gowestyoungmom.com.

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