7. Cheyenne, WY
Laramie County Library
If you see tweens roaming the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, WY, after it's closed don't be alarmed. The after-hours program, where preteens are given full access to the library, is just one of many programs designed to get kids involved and engaged in reading.
Bike racks outside the library fill up pretty quick. An average of 3,500 children visit here each week. With so many kids coming in, the Library Café started offering items like smoothies, half sandwiches and snack packs. Colored carpet tiles lead to the second floor, which is entirely dedicated to children. The space includes story time areas, computer stations, an area for board games, an oversized chess board that features pieces bigger than some of the kids, and other learning experiences. Children ages 12 and older can be library volunteers and assist in various activities. The library also has a Teen Advisory Board that makes decisions about programs offered to their peers.
Wow Factor: The children's area includes a child-size Bookmobile and a kid-powered Book Factory designed to move and sort pretend books. Librarians say parents have a hard time getting their children to leave. The Burgeon Group, which designed the Book Factory, told library officials they expected about the installation to make 1 million turns of its conveyor belt over five years, yet kids loved it so much that it only took six months to reach that goal.