Play-and-learn spaces: Leveraging library spaces to promote caregiver and child interaction

Brenna Hassinger-Das, Jennifer M. Zosh, Nicole Hansen, Meghan Talarowski, Kate Zmich, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Modern libraries are reimagining their spaces as more than repositories for books. The Play-and-Learn Spaces project married developmental science with the changing nature of 21st century libraries. The study asked if it is possible to augment learning in informal spaces using the built environment to encourage discourse and interaction. For this project, the library space was reconstructed such that a corner became a climbing wall on which children could create words by following varied paths up the wall's letter-filled surface. Seating was transformed into large movable “Tangram”-type pieces and a stage, complete with magnetic words, invited children to create stories on the wall and complete story-related activities through socio-dramatic play. Using naturalistic observation, results demonstrated that the use of the Play-and-Learn spaces was associated with increases in the kinds of caregiver and child conversation and interaction known to support language, literacy and STEM skills. These results suggest that libraries can become part of a new learning culture that impacts city residents at the places they naturally go.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101002
JournalLibrary and Information Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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