Whereas the old children's room had no computers for children to use, the renovated space has six standard computers, three early-literacy computers for children learning to read, and a self-checkout computer.
There are also new shelving, desks and chairs, and carpeting. The walls are newly painted, and kids will have covered rising benches to perch on during the popular storytime events. The storytime area is in front of windows that look out on Alma Street — a favorite place for kids to watch passing trains.
The $500,000-plus renovation was paid for largely by private donations through a fundraising effort of the Menlo Park Library Foundation. Donors were given the chance to name items in the room — from shelving to computer stations.
Children's Librarian Michelle Barrese said that, within the last four years, there has been a "tremendous growth" in the demand for children's and teens' services. For example, circulation of materials for that age range increased by 142 percent; attendance at programs has increased by 595 percent; and attendance for school-age programs has increased by 614 percent, she said.
With the renovation, the teens' section was moved to a nearby space in the main section of the library, making room for the new features for younger kids.
The children's room reopened March 19. The Saturday grand opening will include visits by Boswick the Clown, Raul the Balloon Artist, and Miss Angela, who will tell stories from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
The celebration will also include a scavenger hunt designed to give kids a chance to get acquainted with their new room while having lots of fun, says Jane Wyman of the Menlo Park Library Foundation. Ms. Wyman co-chaired, with Nancy Flowers, the foundation's fundraising effort.
There will also be a March 25 wine and cheese event for significant donors from 6 to 8 p.m., during which Sarah Ghandour, a Menlo-Atherton High School student and prize-winning cellist, will perform.
The grand reopening of the children's room at the Menlo Park Library is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 27. There will be many activities for kids. The library is at 800 Alma St. in Menlo Park. Call 330-2500 for more information.