I love NPR. NPR, or National Public Radio, offers in depth stories about news, culture, politics and local issues. They also have weekly radio shows that I love to listen to including “This American Life” and “Car Talk”. You name it, they cover it in an enjoyable, engaging way. I feel my brain growing each time I listen. Let’s face it, for a life long learner like me, this is fuel for play.
Yesterday, I was listening to reporter Allison Cuddy discuss the changes happing in the concept of libraries as we know them. We often think of libraries as a place with shelves of books and a librarian whispering “shhh” at the patrons. Libraries, just like everything else in this century, are evolving into much more than that.
Jane Addam’s Hull House now has an art lending library. They will come and hang a piece of art in your home and loan it to you just like a library book – except it is not due back for three months. Also in Chicago is the new Poetry Library which houses – you guessed it – books of poetry. Finally, Public’s Hotel has created a library room complete with coffee shop and books where guests and visitors alike can curl up in front of the fire with a book – or an electronic book – and a cup of coffee while experiencing the mind traveling experience that comes from reading a great book.
As I listened to Allison report on this story of libraries, I wondered if there would be a way to create a play library. Not one in which you go in and play like some form of an adult version of Chuck E. Cheese or anything. But a play library where, based on a person’s interest, you could type in one type of play that you enjoy and a suggested list of other things to try might come up:
Books made into movies
Attending the Academy Awards
Traveling to famous movie locations
Movie Group (think Book Club)
Movie themed parties
The library idea also got my wheels spinning even more. Libraries provided venues for the experience of community – whether you are at your local library or the Public Hotel’s library, you are around other people who are part of the community which you are a part of at that moment and time. What about a play library or an adult play group where we swap and borrow each other’s play ideas? A play group for grown ups where we share stories of our play experiences and become energized by the new experiences of others.