This wonderfully inviting room was originally named the "Peter Pan Room" for its unique fireplace designed by the accomplished Pasadena sculptor Maud Daggett (1883-1941) as a gift to the children of Pasadena and in memory of her parents, Charles and Mary Daggett. It tells the story of Peter Pan and all his friends, including Captain Hook.
In her notes about the sculpture, Miss Daggett said it represents those "universal moments of childhood, when... imagination and adventure thrill in the land of 'make believe', when each young soul realizes in full his heart's desire". She wanted people to know when they saw the sculpture that "the sculptor loved every minute of her childhood in beloved Pasadena, in freedom and sunshine, with loving parents who never grew up, and who believed in fairies and who believed in Pasadena".
Myron Hunt's design for this room shows great sensitivity to the unique service needs of children of all ages. Hunt designed the furniture to be scaled down versions of the Library's adult furniture. The tables and benches in front of the Peter Pan Fireplace are intended for elementary age children and is adjacent to their book collection. Three-quarter size tables with chairs are located near the junior high and reference collections.
During the restoration and renovation of this room in 1990, a "down-sized" information desk and computer work stations were specially designed and installed to better serve the needs of young library patrons.
In addition, a new piece of furniture (inspired by Library staff) was designed for placement in the picture book area. These are the "Read To Me" chairs, which are sized for an adult and child to sit comfortably together. Made of quarter-sawn oak, the design even includes a carving of a book like that which appears carved in the stone at the front of the building. The standing lamps were original to the building and were brought out of storage and rewired.
At the west end of the room, just beyond the non-fiction book collection is the Story Hour Room. This was an addition to the building in the 1960's and was extensively remodeled during the restoration project to better accommodate the needs of the busy schedule of children's programming. Prior to the restoration, the entrance to the Story Hour room was through the display case just inside the room to the left. This display case is surrounded by stonework which surrounded the original exterior windows. The present central doorway was cut through what was an original exterior wall of the building and one can see how thick the exterior walls of the building are, over twenty-four inches of brick and concrete.
For programs, children sit on the carpeted steps of the "mini-amphitheater". State-of-the-art equipment includes theatrical lighting; a recessed film screen; video and film projectors; compact disc, audio and video tape players; and a sound system. Sectional stage drapes offer flexibility for a variety of programs.
Today, the Children’s Room is named in honor of Ernestine Avery, whose husband R. Stanton Avery, donated the funds necessary for the restoration and renovation which was dedicated on April 21, 1990.