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

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.



Work Title Play-and-learn spaces: Leveraging library spaces to promote caregiver and child interaction
Open Access
  1. Brenna Hassinger-Das
  2. Jennifer M. Zosh
  3. Nicole Hansen
  4. Meghan Talarowski
  5. Kate Zmich
  6. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
  7. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)
Work Type Article
  1. Library and Information Science Research
Publication Date January 1, 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited November 19, 2021




This resource is currently not in any collection.

Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Hassinger-Das_et_al.__LISR_-1.docx
  • Added Creator Brenna Hassinger-Das
  • Added Creator Jennifer M. Zosh
  • Added Creator Nicole Hansen
  • Added Creator Meghan Talarowski
  • Added Creator Kate Zmich
  • Added Creator Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
  • Added Creator Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
  • Published
  • Updated
  • Updated