Grandma Claire’s Early Learning Hive, a space handcrafted to combine youth recreation & education into a single experience, has been unveiled at the New Tampa Regional Library (NTRL) on Cross Creek Blvd. About 50 people, including the family of the longtime educator and librarian the room was named for, attended the ceremony at NTRL on Sept. 22.

Claire Unnasch, whose plaque is proudly displayed in The Hive, was a special education teacher, school librarian and middle school math teacher at South End School in Cedar Grove, NJ. However, the nickname “Grandma Claire” wasn’t coined until her later career as a volunteer at local libraries, where she discovered her immense affection for preschool-age children. Grandma Claire passed away in 2016.

Thomas Unnasch, Grandma Claire’s son, spoke at the unveiling, as children raced around playing and grabbing books.

“She would be beyond herself if she could see what we’ve created here,” Thomas said.

District 7 Tampa City Council member Luis Viera and Hillsborough County’s director of library services Andrew Breidenbaugh also spoke at the podium, sharing their vision of recreating Grandma Claire’s Early Learning Hive for libraries across the District in the years to come, to spread Claire’s love for children & education even further.

The New Tampa Regional Library (10001 Cross Creek Blvd.) is open every day.


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