The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at the New York Public Library transformed into a fun-filled event for families this past Sunday. The annual benefit (all proceeds go to funding children services in NYPL’s 92 locations) always features a different theme. This year’s was ”Ocean Adventure.” It included puppet shows, arts and crafts, and balloon sea creatures, transforming the library into a miniature water world.
Armed with a treasure map, children and parents wandered down the halls hand-in-hand, occasionally encountering a live mermaid or singing sailor. A broad forum opened into an underwater scene, complete with a paper yellow submarine and lampposts that were turned into jellyfish. The arts and crafts tables taught kids how to make ”Friends for Octopus” out of paper plates and tissue paper, and “Bottle Submarines” out of plastic water bottles. “Puppet Port” was a room specifically dedicated to children-friendly shows, while the “Coral Reef” presented dioramas and a message-in-a-bottle scavenger hunt for older kids. Centered in the middle of the festivities, buffet tables with ocean-themed snacks (think tropical island fruit plate) fed hungry families.
Additionally, the The ABC of It exhibit was on display. The educational room explored classic children’s books in a colorful, maze-like way. The “Goodnight Moon” room was displayed across an entire wall, while a faux-hedge cutout represented “Where the Wild Things Are.” There was also a section for controversial children’s books, like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume.
Children seemed thrilled with the event, beaming as they mimed sailing their paper boats through the air.
“We want them to walk away thinking that every time they walk into a library, it’s an adventure,” Cara Bender, the associate manager of development events, said.
What an adventure, indeed!