Interactive early literacy center opens at Onalaska library

An addition to an area library is promoting some non-traditional ways to get kids interested in reading.

The Onalaska Public Library held a grand opening for the Sias Early Literacy Center Friday morning.

The new section of the library provides kids an interactive space to play in ways that will build early literacy skills.

County library officials say younger kids learn better with hands-on activities, and they hope the new space helps people realize libraries these days do more than just provide books.

“The area takes us away from traditional library services of a quiet reading corner, and this is the idea of how playing and learning tie to eachother and how early literacy skills are gained from actual interactive play,” said La Crosse County Library Director Chris McArdle Rojo.

Onalaska’s early literacy center was made possible thanks to a contribution from the Sias Library Trust Fund.

McArdle Rojo says the county library system hopes to add similar spaces in their other locations in the Town of Campbell, Holmen, West Salem and Bangor.

“This makes libraries a community center, a community gathering place, and it just moves away from that traditional thought of books,” said McArdle Rojo. “They’re still here and readily available, but it’s everything that leads and ties into literacy that we’re able to provide with this space.”