Friday, August 17, 2018

490 Ashtabula County District Library, Ashtabula, Ohio

I parked in a far corner of the lot in order to get some steps on my step counter. That enabled me to spot an intriguing sidewalk beside the building, and that led me to this beautiful garden spot.

Walking closer, I came to this scene, which I guessed would prove to be outside the children's area. (I was right.)

Into to the building. This display honors donors to the library. The top level, just out of sight, is "Community Visionaries." Then First Editions, Rare Editions, Classic, Best Seller, one that I can't quite read, and Poetry. Nice idea, nicely executed.

A book sale is coming up soon. In the case are some of the special items that will be for sale.

Immediately to the left of the entrance is a snack bar with a kitchenette, vending machines, and seating. A few of the books in the on-going book sale are visible at the left.

This large card catalog is still full of...catalog cards, of course. It has not been updated since the early 90s when the catalog was digitized. Another of similar size is in the non-fiction area.

The summer reading program is just ending.

Want to be a super hero? Step behind the painted refrigerator box, poke your head through, and have your picture taken.

Book racks on wheels feature new books for kids and adults, and a rack of books in Spanish. Look closely at the upper half of the picture, to the right of center.

Did you look where I said? Did you spot the eaves of this charming porch? This is one of the greatest children's room features I've ever seen. It really is made to be a full-size wrap-around porch, with rockers of various styles and sizes and window boxes of flowers.

The space behind the porch windows is the program room. I heard this called "Children's Cottage" and "Storybook Cottage." Either is totally appropriate.

Another feature of the children's area is this circular seating area in front of a large aquarium.

Six computers are available for kids to use. Notice that the tables look somewhat like rustic picnic tables, and the benches are wide enough for two kids to share a computer.

The picnic table, or perhaps porch furniture, theme continues in this corner with its circular windows and landscape view. The shrubs seen through the largest window are part of the garden we looked at outside.

At one point I looked back and realized that the cottage is more than a porch. From here, you can see the entire "cottage."

In contrast to the cozy cottage for kids, the central area has modern study tables with outlets for plugging electronics. The seats at the right face a fireplace flanked by tall windows. Papers and periodicals are close by.

Across the library from the children's area there are stacks of fiction with all the usual genres plus Historical, Classics, and Christian. Paperbacks are on wall shelves.

It's only as I completed a circuit of this area that I got a clue about something I almost missed. This framed picture shows the original Carnegie library. This library got off to a good start with a bequest from Maria Conklin, a local resident. Carnegie always required matching funds from the recipients of his gifts, and Ms. Conklin's gift certainly met his requirements.

Ashtabula had a subscription library as early as 1813. In 1903 the new library was opened as the "Carnegie Conklin Library." This site gives the story since that date, including a fire and various relocations, additions, and renovations. The most recent renovation was just two years ago.

The transition between the new and old parts of the building is up eight steps (a lift is available) and along a short passageway that serves as an art gallery.

Here is another view of the Carnegie Conklin Library.

The upper space has comfortable reading areas and the non-fiction, biography, and reference collections. There are 20 or more computers, enough of them in use that I could not get a decent shot. There is a reference desk, complete with a librarian, and a Genealogy Archive Room. A set of stairs led to an upper level; I didn't go up. [I don't think it would have been allowed, and certainly not encouraged.]

When I returned to the newer building, I saw this poster. I've enlarged it so you can read at least the headings and the words in the starburst shapes.

This bright area couldn't be anything other than the teen space. This is the first library where I remember seeing a glass-enclosed gaming room., where two teen boys were playing something very active--visible and silent, thanks to the glass walls.

Did I go into the teen area? Heck, no. I tend to stay out of teen areas, and after seeing this sign...I wouldn't think of it! Unless I had a teen escort, of course. It's nice that the last line provides this option.

I'll end with some architectural details. The first is from the entrance to the modern building, looking outward. The second is 180 degrees the other way.

And finally I walked around the building to where I could get this picture. Arriving from the direction I did, I had no clue that this awaited me.