The Children’s Department has a multitude of shelves and corners filled with books and materials where visitors can become lost in any kind of story or subject. That is just the kind of magic that has made this space so special for countless numbers of children over the years.
Children’s staff knows the special look that washes over an adult’s face when they enter these rooms they knew as a child. It’s curious, but they all look up at the ceiling, and then cautiously survey the room. Is it possible this place could still evoke the same feeling as they experienced so many years ago? A smile always says, “Yes. It’s still here.” There is also a definite sense of relief that something that once was very important to them as children is still here.
There are so many memories, and we are so fortunate to hear their stories. Most of the time, they are out-of-towners returning to Pittsburgh for the weekend who just have to see the place that meant so much to them as a child. Saturday afternoons selecting books so many years ago, yet they still remember. Treasures they would check out after spending the day utterly lost in the joy of exploring, discovering, and then reading that perfect book.
They remark how it has changed, yet it still looks the same. They recall their favorite spot or the regular visits, and for that moment, they travel back to a less complicated time when they felt the freedom and possibilities of a day spent in the Children’s Department.
Looking at the children we serve now, I hope that they will return to our space perhaps with their children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren on a return expedition with that special look and say, “Yes, it’s still here.”