Thursday, December 27, 2012

138. Concord New Hampshire Public Library

I'm here in New Hampshire for Christmas; a snowstorm this morning kept me inside, so when my brother in law offered to drive me to town in mid-afternoon, I was ready to go. This library has changed a lot since it was "my" library around 1970. It was not busy today, which is not surprising, probably because of the heavy snowfall.

The first floor is for adults. There are many distinct spaces, for non-fiction, fiction, periodicals, computers, etc. A large group of drawers for vertical files are something I've rarely seen in my travels so far. Signage in the non-fiction area seems especially clear. I liked the sign I saw on the end of one shelf: "Why should I have to tell you--you should just know! Marriage 306.8 Your library card--the best value in town." I hoped to see some others like this, but didn't spot any.

There seemed to be many new books, including large print books, displayed in the middle of the building.

A table near the computers has signs "Wait here for computers." and "Computers are first come first served." I saw no indication of time limits for the computers; I wonder how that works out?

A few random things I liked on the main floor: A sign thanking individuals, some anonymous, for contributing the cost of specific periodicals. A table for filling out library card registration forms; this must save some time at the circulation desk. A sign indicating that staff would get items from storage if given the needed info. Nice, but it means the collection is not readily available to patrons. There's a very nice tile mural over the exit door. And the lower level has vending machines and tables where patrons can eat.

The children's area is upstairs. There are painted murals on many walls. This verse is above a beautiful fireplace surrounded by blue tiles:
     Books are keys to wisdom's treasure.
     Books are gates to lands of pleasure.
     Books are paths that upward lead.
     Books are friends. Come let us read.

The children's space is very open and light, with a variety of murals and displays. There are eight computers, and several were being used.

12/27/12  car

The picture is from the web because my camera misfunctioned. I apologize to whoever I swiped it from, it obviously doesn't show 8" of snow, and I promise to replace it with my own picture next summer.

Where I got my start

Here is a picture of the Nashua (NH) Public Library, taken in the 1950s--the era when I was working there as a high school "library page," 1954 to 1958. I was followed in that role by my sister Jean, and later by my mother, who worked for years as a reference librarian.

In the picture, the stacks, three levels, are on the left, reading room on the right, children's area below the reading room. And no, kids were not welcome upstairs in the adult area.

If you look at this picture and think "That doesn't look like a very practical, functional library building," you'd be right, though it worked OK for its time. It was replaced in the 60s by a concrete bunker that is still in use today. At least the old one had character.

Plans for 2013

(Updated halfway through the year, early July.)

* Finish visiting branches in Great River and Selco (maybe not all of them)
* Finish visiting branches in MORE (ditto)
* Return to MELSA branches where my notes were puny or non-existent (working on this)
* Visit libraries in WI, MI, NY, and NH during my annual summer trip; perhaps even Ontario! (visited 25 libraries in 11 days, including one in Vermont, two in Ontario)
* Visit the WI library that a librarian in Stillwater, MN, said is "fantastic"; I have the name at home--I know it starts with V. (I believe that's Verona, and there's one nearby that turned up on the "Libaries and Ice Cream" list. They are close to each other, and are slated for a road trip in late July or early August, to coincide with the Lands End sale in Dodgeville.)

And if the train schedule and the weather cooperate, I'll visit the main Chicago library Saturday morning, on my way home to MN from NH. (Cross your fingers; the Amtrak track record is not so good.)

Other "must see" libraries you want to suggest? Comments welcome.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

137. Great River--Clearwater

This is a storefront library, and it's much larger than I guessed from the outside. I learned that the library moved here last June from a smaller space, and part of the open feeling is that the old shelves and other furniture are now spread out.

The welcome starts right inside the door, where the Friends of the Library have a magazine exchange, with a small table and two chairs. A table in the very center of the space appeared to have materials for a kids' art project, but there were no kids; I was there during school hours, which happens all too often.

There is a pleasant browsing area near the windows with chairs, newspapers, biographies, periodicals, and new books. A teen area has a computer just for teens (there are also computers for adults), a world map, a chess board set up ready to go, and a selection of books including graphic novels and manga.

A very large animal-themed quilt hangs by the children's area; in front of it is a row of kid-sized chairs, each with a storybook character doll (Raggedy Ann, for example)sitting on it. There is also a kid-sized rocker, and I saw a bin of Spanish books that appeared to be all or mostly for kids.

After making the rounds, I met the librarian, who spotted me as "the blogger." She had the blog on her Favorites list--what a treat for me! We talked about different branches I've visited, and I was surprised at how many MELSA libraries she's worked at. I learned that one unusual thing about Clearwater is that it's financially supported by six surrounding towns. Over and over I see these examples of how much libraries are valued. Another sign of the value placed on the Clearwater library (or, I should say, the Stickney Crossing Library) is the beautiful eye-catching quilt behind the circulation desk. Fantastic!

I like maps, and Clearwater has five globes, two large "in memory of" floor models, two that live on top of the shelves, and one that has a handle added to the top, in order to serve as a treasure box for the summer reading program. What a great idea!

Before I left, a first: the librarian took MY picture standing outside HER library. An honor!

12/19/2012,  car

136. Great River--Cold Spring

OK, the first thing I spotted was a sign: "Do not use your cell phone in the library." I like that. I can assure you that signs about using phones "appropriately" have no effect whatsoever. I also like "Please do not reshelve books." I'd often like to add "especially if you think that putting them on the end of the shelf, to the right of the bookend, is helpful. It is not." [Nope, my boss won't let me say that.]

This is a multi-purpose building: city hall, police, fire, and library. Great use of space, though I understand that the library is outgrowing its allotment, and a larger space is being sought.

The library space is generally divided along its long axis, kids' to the right, adults to the left, a youth area joining the two at the far end, and three computers in the center. A nice big window looks out toward the entrance sidewalk; you can see it in the picture below. The children's area has a low round table with some cute upholstered wooden chairs.

There's a small staff area and workspace near the entrance, and here I found four of the most pleasant staff I've run into in my travels. As soon as I told one staff person that "my hobby is visiting libraries," she wanted to know if I am the blogger. Guilty as charged! So we all chatted about the blog for a bit. Then I learned that I really should have lunch at Marnanteli's, across the main highway from the Holiday station, and I really MUST visit the Cold Spring Bakery. Well, when a librarian gives you advice, it's wise to listen. I had a cheeseburger with tater tots (can't remember when I last had tater tots), then walked to the bakery and left with assorted cookies and bars--in a brown cardboard box like I haven't seen since my family brought goodies home from Crosby's Bakery in Nashua, NH. Thanks for the tips, ladies!

12/19/2012, car

135. Great River--Richmond, MN

A single square space, one of the smaller I've seen, but with windows, which always make a space seem larger and friendlier, in my opinion.

Speaking of friendly, what would welcome little kids better than the low table full of Duplo blocks and related toys? This table is surrounded by books, of course--bins of picture books, shelves of J's.

Media includes VHS, DVD, CD, and audiocassettes. I spotted 4 public computers; I didn't look too closely, but I'll guess that there is one for the catalog, three for the Internet.

The collection is small, but it's as much as the shelves will hold. And size of collection is not so relevant in Great River, where the whole collection floats. In a sense, each branch has a collection the size of the entire region! While I stood at the staff desk (after embarrasing myself by trying to buy a fleece blanket that, it turns out, is part of an up-coming winter reading program for adults), a man checked out a DVD and placed his "order" for two other items. I learned that the delivery truck for Great River makes the rounds five days a week, so he won't have long to wait.

Look at the great front wall; I should have asked, but I'll guess it is made of granite from one of the companies I passed on the way here.

12/19/2012, car

Saturday, December 8, 2012

41a. St. Paul Central Children's Department-Revisit

Back again, since I was downtown for the grand opening of the renovated Union Depot. And for fun, I figured out how to get from the depot to the library using skyways all the way!

Neat new idea in the children's area today: Clear plastic backpacks loaded with theme-based books! It appeared that there are six books per backpack. Very cool. Kudos to whoever thought that up.

At the far end of the space is a housekeeping setup, a "shop," and a child-sized puppet theater (in addition to the grand historic puppet theater). A very small girl, no more than three years, was trying to be a shopkeeper, calling out that "I need customers! Lots of customers!"

Hello to the staff; I always see familiar, friendly faces when I stop here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

International viewers?

One thing that amazes me about this simple blog is that every day there are viewers/readers around the world! Almost every day there is a "hit" from Russia, and many other countries show up in the stats from time to time. International friends, I'd love to know how you found the site and what libraries are like where you are. Please respond in a Comment!


Monday, November 26, 2012

On the relevance of libraries

There is an article in the New York Times today about libraries after the assault of Hurricane Sandy. I think it would violate copyright to paste the article in here, but you can look for it at If you are a library fan (and why else would you be reading this blog?) you will be warmed by this article.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

134. MORE, Rice Lake, Wisconsin

A nice touch that caught my eye as I entered the lobby is a courtesy phone "for local calls only."

There's a browsing area by the windows, with comfortable-looking chairs and a collection of newspapers and periodicals. The adult fiction books are on the first floor. There is a history corner with a microfilm reader, a wooden card catalog file (but with larger drawers) with a newspaper index, drawers of newspapers on microfilm, and a collection of local history, some in a locked bookcase. (Key available from staff.)

On the wall on the way up the stairs is a "wreath" made partly of book pages with a sign "The gift of reading lasts forever." Two gerbils live upstairs in the children's area; I saw one of them, briefly. The teen area has two set-ups for video games; this is the only place where I've seen video games in use at a library, except for a couple of branches in Ramsey County. Young teens were using laptops; it looked as if these might belong to the library; perhaps the kids can check them out to use there?

The adult non-fiction collection is upstairs. The shelves are painted a cheerful yellow and have woodgrain ends; the result is very light and bright--I like it!

At the other end of the upper space is the children's are. A small boombox was playing children's music softly. One area had a poster on the wall that said simply "Storytime," surrounded by eleven smaller signs telling the skills that are developed by listening to stories. There are also a play house, a "workbench" with tools, toy kitchen, play store, some dress-up clothes, and manipulatives of various sorts mounted on the wall. One shelf holds parenting books, another has children's books in Spanish. (There are also some Spanish books elsewhere for adults.)

I like the sign beside the elevator that asks patrons to "Save energy, use the stairs if possible."

Back downstairs, I visited the "Back Alley Bookstore" run by the friends. It's about the size of the store at Maplewood in Ramsey County. In addition to books for sale, it offers jigsaw swaps and free magazines.

When I was on the corner waiting to cross the street back to my car, I saw a window display about plans for a new or renovated library. There was a picture showing a Carnegie library that was in use until 1978. I didn't see the building as I drove out of town; I wish I had gone back in and asked about it.

11/24/2012  car

133. MORE, Ladysmith, Wisconsin

The Ladysmith library overlooks a lake (pond?) and a park, which gave me a chance to stretch my legs--briefly. It was cold today! One of the pictures below looks back at the library from the park.

There is a fountain in the lobby; I think it was called Dripping Leaves. (Sorry, the name didn't get into my notes.) There was also a woman weaving on a tabletop loom, which was fascinating to me and to a boy about 10 years old.

There is a cozy teen area with two couches, a TV, and a sign gently asking that "If you move the furniture, please put it back." Near this area I was able to look into what I think is the librarian's office. A picture of a cute pirate cat was on the computer screen.

An adult browsing area looks out over the park. Large and medium tables along the window wall provide space for study and jigsaw puzzles. On top of one shelf I spotted a stuffed bobcat; I'm not an expert, but it looked like a good job. There is a stuffed owl, also good.

Moving toward the kids' area I saw original art on the walls, a coupon swap, a mineral display, and a nicely decorated Christmas tree. I've learned that outdated coupons are collected for military families, who can use them for a certain time beyond their expiration date.

The kids' area has windows on two sides. It features a tepee, probably 6 feet tall or more, with cushions inside. And to me, the piece de resistance, a wooden horse with a real saddle! I asked permission and took a picture; see below. I learned that the recently retired children's librarian provided (built?) the horse and gave the saddle. When I was a kid, I'd have been in that saddle every chance I had! A corner for the littlest kids had a set of three quarter-circle carpeted steps in one corner.

The juvenile collection seemed to be very large and included book-and-media sets and many, many VHS tapes.

That horse distracted me from the adult collection; fear not, there is one!

11/24/2012  car


132. MORE, Chetek, Wisconsin

This small library has a delightful children's area, with a dragon mural, a bright rug with the sun, numbers, and letters, a puppet theatre and basket of puppets, and a good collection of books--including a large group of Little Golden Books. A toy corner was keeping a number of small children engaged while I was there.

A browsing area was made homey with a number of glider-type easy chairs and a couple of rustic lamps, along with periodicals and newspapers.

The back wall featured articles and pictures of Hazel Calhoun, Superintendent of Schools in Barron County from 1952 to 1963. Even a cursory reading made it clear that she was a wonderful philanthropist in this community. Look at the picture below and you will see that the library was named for her.

The library provides fax service at $2.00 for six pages. Ive rarely seen this service in libraries, except in St. Paul.

As I was leaving, I spotted a poster about Operation Military Kids, a collection of 20 books provided by the state. There were suggestions about reading one or more of these books and discussing them. For more information, check out

Today was the last day of a Friends booksale in Chetek, and I scored three children's books and a recorded book by Crichton--all for a buck! Thanks, Friends!

11/24/2012  car

131. MORE, Amery, Wisconsin

The "we care about people" vibe starts as soon as you walk in the door, where a sign lets you know that a wheelchair and walker are available. Containers are provided for collecting box tops, bottle caps, and Campbell's labels, as well as food for a food shelf. The lobby is dominated by the Harvey and Marilyn Stower Coffee Corner--a comfortable living room with newspapers, periodicals, and vending machines close by. The Friends of the Library have a bulletin board that includes posted reports, and a shelf of books for sale. There's also a rack of greeting cards provided by a women's club, for sale to support the library.

Inside, painted silhouettes of children lead the way along the wall to the children'a area, which features (along with plenty of books of all types) a playhouse corner and a wooden train on a low table. There are several large areas for kids of different ages. A "bookworm" table made of five overlapping circles reminded me of the Very Hungry Caterpillar table in Elk River, MN.

There is a large meeting room off the lobby, and I saw at least two smaller meeting/study rooms inside. The adult area has three "living room" type areas, in addition to the space in the lobby. Two of them flank a two-sided fireplace.

Several chess boards were set up, ready for games. The Westerns section has a large number of old Zane Grey books, marked as gifts on the back of the title pages. That's something I don't see every day!

The library is attached to a large assisted living facility by a passageway; I was there early, right after opening, and did not see seniors around, but the whole space would welcome them. At the same time, I can't think that it would in any way put off younger adults or kids.

I spotted few public computers relative to other libraries I've visited. Perhaps I missed them?

The entire space feels very spacious and bright. I think this may be in part because the walls are decorated, not with framed objects, but with painted quotations, like, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  Aesop." These are on the walls in the adult area, also. This large small-town library seems ready to meet the needs of the community.

11/24/2012   car

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

78a. Hennepin County, Penn Lake, Bloomington, Re-visit

This branch closed for renovations shortly after my visit last summer. To a couple of friends who think my visit may have been a cause of the remodeling, ha ha no, it was part of a long-range plan. Today was a good day to get back and see what has changed.

When I visited last, many picture books were packed, some shelves were empty, there was a definite closing-soon vibe. Today was very different in some ways that I noticed quickly, and in one way that I would have missed if I had not had a conversation with staff.

First, the obvious: the place is totally "put together" now.  Picture books (and other books) abound, though the children's "new books" shelf was oddly empty.  I like the practice of putting series books, like Hank the Cow Dog, in plastic boxes which are then shelved alphabetically by author. Does this perhaps get children "into" the non-series books, where they might spot something interesting? I like the bright plastic laundry baskets for board books. The child-sized couch and upholstered chairs look inviting. The children's area has eight computers with Little Links reserved for kids 12 and under.

In the adult area I noticed comfortable seating by the windows that look out on Penn Ave. There is some interesting art on the walls, world language books in Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and a basket of books for "Adult New Readers" on the shelf in the 400 section of the non-fiction shelves, something I haven't seen before. There were about 16 computers for adult use.

A teen area has comfortable seating, three computers, and a counter with stools and outlets for laptops.

A certain Safety Committee (not in Hennepin County) recently suggested putting bright tape on black kick-stools to make them more visible. Here, I spotted a kick-stool completely painted bright yellow. Way to go, Penn Lake!

Before leaving, I talked to a staff person about the changes, mentioning that the space feels larger although it's clear the footprint has not changed. She reminded me that before the rennovation, the reference desk had been in the center of the building, separate from the circulation services desk. Now, both have been combined into one service desk on the left as you enter. It certainly makes the library feel more spacious. One unintended consequence, however, is that when the librarian was in the center overseeing the entire space, circulation staff could be in the workroom behind the desk. Now, it's sometimes necessary for circ staff to stay at the desk and help with oversight. But my impression was that the changes are considered a net plus.

11/20/12, bus and walking

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Hello, readers. The site is seeing quite a bit of action, which is great fun. But there are very few comments. My guess is that blogspot deters comments by requiring that you log on in some particular way. Here's an alternative: I you email your comments to me at, I'll put your email in as a comment. I won't include your email address, but please give your name or an alias. And be sure to identify which post your comment is related to.

Does that help?

Ellen (library.logger)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

130. SELCO, Faribault, MN

This library is part of a row of linked buildings that house, from left to right, the City Hall, library, parks and recreation center, and a senior center.

I arrived about 20 minutes before closing, and the lights were mostly off already in the children's area. I did see a fine dramatic play area, with kitchen, store, dollhouse, and (a first for me) a child-sized "living room" with easy chairs, a "coffee table," and so forth. Round pizza pans are attached to the ends of some shelves, and each has a collection of pictures with magnets.

There are two attractive fireplaces and other features that hint "Carnegie," but this building is not of that heritage.

There is a sizeable collection of foreign and silent films on DVDs. Reference materials are "on shelves behind the reference desk."

A wall rack holds resource guides for courses that might be college or high school.

An old, large, glass-fronted bookcase with a collection of books is "...from the home of Judge Thomas Scott Buckham, 1835-1928."

Large plastic baskets are at the ends of rows for books to be reshelved. I saw a dozen or so public computers.

With 15 minutes to go, staff announced that "The library will close in 15 minutes. We are not able to issue library cards 15 minutes before closing. Lights and computers will turn off 10 minutes before closing." Staff at this library must have a good track record for clearing the building on time!

11/10/12, car

129. Osage, Iowa

Today's trip was inspired by this library, which is written up in Main Street Public Libraries from the University of Iowa Press. The original building, a Carnegie now serving as the City Hall, is a few blocks down the street from current library.

[A maple theme pervades the town]

I have a variety of impressions of this library, all good but rather scattered. I like the display cases, which today house very well-crafted handmade vehicles like ox carts and covered wagons, complete with animals. An alcove that appeared at first to house reference materials also had a display of materials relevant to caregivers and a collection of medical and nutritional books; a nearby computer is "reserved for medical research," and apparently has access to special databases.

There are photographs of librarians from early days to more recent, and also a display of photos and brief biographies of local notables from the early 20th century to near the present.

A fireplace provides the focal point for a very nice "living room" area, with upholstered chairs, stone-topped tables, and homey touches. Art on the walls is available to borrow. Other things available to borrow--I saw these on the library website and now I've confirmed it with my own eyes--include folding tables, coffee urns, electric roasters similar to the one my mother used to have, and just about every size and shape of cake pan you could imagine, each in a hanging plastic bag!

A Youth Activity Room holds 4 round tables, 16 chairs, a couple of adult chairs, and a lot of easy readers and early chapter books. The sign made me think "teen," but the furnishings make it clear this is "early elementary." There is a clever bulletin board display with a paper tree and rake and small reproductions of children's book covers on paper leaves. The title is, of course, "Rake up a Good Book."

Story packs are in large zipper notebook binders. Some are labeled Chickasaw County Extension: Exploring Avenues for Getting Literate Early." It's nice to see the library and extension service collaborating.

A sign by the DVDs says that "Age 17 and up may check out R-rated movies. Younger borrowers must have a signed parent consent form."

A table in the entrance is used for patrons to drop off items to swap or give away: magazines, stationary, paperback books, and more.

Last but not at all least, this small town library has a children's program that has grown to 90 kids, from pre-K to grade 5, and their activities have had to move from the library, across the parking lot to the large meeting room at the police department! Clearly, this library is connecting with the new generation!

11/10/12, car

128. SELCO, Austin, MN

Another library where kids are supreme, which I totally support. Here, I was greeted with a glass case full of creative LEGO models made by boys and girls. Just beyond was a room labeled Early Literacy Room; it has two glass walls, toys, seating, a nursery rhyme rug. A sign that you see when leaving this space says, "All picked up? Great. Thank you!"

Familiar items in the children's area include computers (I counted about 16), chairs with animal motifs, a fire engine reading space similar to the one in Moundsview (Ramsey County), a puppet theater, and a large collection of all kinds of books, including Garfield comics, graphic novels, and many holiday books. But wherever I go, there is something I haven't seen before. In this case, it was strollers with bookbags attached, allowing a parent to cope with a small child and a large bunch of books while browsing. I know I'll think of these when I see certain parents at the library where I work!

I was literally stopped in my tracks when I left the children's area and headed to the adult area. There are two window walls that give a stunning view of the Red Cedar River. I hadn't even known there was a river out there! One wall is lined with 4-person tables for study or browsing, some with reading lamps. The other has tables with power strips for laptop use.

If you read many of these entries, you know that I'm always on the lookout for interesting signage. Here I found a sign that reminded me of one in Northeast Branch, Hennepin County: "Cutting articles and pictures out of our newspapers and magazines is theft and vandalism." OK, that's straighforward. But the next part of the sign says, "If you need a xerox (sic) copy and cannot pay for it, we will make one free of charge." That's very humane; I like it. The third part of the sign I understand but it makes me squirm a bit: "If you see someone destroying library property, please tell a staff member immediately."

A sign advertises Zineo, "the world's largest newsstand now available it your library." Along with what looked to me like a very large variety of periodicals, this really opens the world to patrons.

There are a lot of "Playaway" systems for adults, teens, and kids; for children, there are even "Playaway View" systems, which I'd never seen before. Maplewood in Ramsey County still has a few Playaways for adults, I think, but I haven't seen one or heard them mentioned in a long time.

Music CDs are shelved in a way that is new to me. Each has a flat plastic sleeve with space on one side for a CD and on the other side the descriptive insert. This allows a lot of CDs to be stored in a relatively small space, and you can see both sides of the CD and the insert without opening or removing anything. It would be immediately apparent to the patron if he/she was about to return an empty case!

I almost missed a large (about 11' diameter) polished stone inlay with the words "Austin Public Library" and "Supported by the Ladies Floral Club since 1869." That must make it one of the earliest libraries in MN. The present facility was built in 1996.

After leaving the library, I took a walk along the river. I've been going on and on here, but here's one more thing: There are signs in Spanish and English by the playground and along the river path based on materials from I hoped that I could just refer you to the signs at that site, but it's not that easy. I'll just cite one: "Watch. Learn. Stop. Play. Let your child lead the way." Then it gives ideas for playing with your child, starting with "Watch what your child likes to do..." Very, very nice idea, with signs thanks to the Hormel Foundation.

11/10/12, car

127. Southeast Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) Owatonna, MN

It took me a while to grasp that the whole first floor of this library is the kids' area! There are many windows, a dollhouse, puzzles, lots and lots of books, a large parenting collection, and at least 10 computers for kids. About half of the space can be closed with folding doors to create a large program space. How large? Well, there is ample room for eight tables, each with four chairs--room enough for an entire class from the nearby elementary school. In addition to children's programs, this space is used for movies; coming up soon: Auntie Mame. [I think that came out when I was in college!]

There are story bags with books and audio and lots of recorded books. Near the entrance is a glass case that today had a nifty display of animal books and many small animal figures, grouped near each book.

I thought this was a Carnegie library, because of the beautiful fireplaces, classic oak tables and chairs, and large windows. However, a plaque in the entranceway says "In memory of Elisha Y and Elizabeth C Hunewill whose generosity made possible the founding of this free public library." [And I just discovered that it is not listed in Carnegie Libraries of Minnesota.]A nearby plaque states that modernization in 1954 was made possible by the Gainey Foundation. It clearly has been modernized again since then, with the addition of the new part. There are many old photographs indicating pride and interest in the history of the building and the area.

The newer part upstairs, above the children's area, has windows on three sides, some oak carrels, a good-sized collection of fiction and non-fiction (in addition to  mysteries and "Christian fiction" in the older area), about a dozen public computers, a reference collection, many large-print books, audio books, and DVDs, including Blue Ray DVDs, which I have not noticed at any other library I've visited.

I registered my St. Paul library card in the SELCO system, but did not take out a book as I don't know when I'll get back down this way.

11/10/12, car

Thursday, November 8, 2012

126. Great River, Staples

The library shares space with other municipal offices. The first thing I noticed here was the cool bike rack (see picture), which is surpassed only by the racks at the Mother Ship in St. Cloud. Once I got inside, I was captivated by a large, three-panel fabric mural. It's hard to describe; it's not a quilt, but it uses fabric to give the impression of the farmland I'd been driving through all day. You'll just have to go see it!

There are at least seven public computers. As I've noticed throughout the GRRL system, there are movies on both VHS and DVD, and recorded books on both CD and cassette.

I had to hang around for about 40 minutes before the library opened so I got a bite to eat and noticed that trains go through Staples about every two minutes. Well, not that often, perhaps, but very often. So I wasn't surprised to see a periodical called Trains and to notice a train theme on the picture book bin labels.

There are clear, sensible rules of behavior. Too much to write here, but I like them.

An attractive wooden wall, about 7 feet high (not to the ceiling) divides the children's and adults' areas. A charming round room with windows and window-seats part way around is for the youngest children--and perhaps for programs? There are a lot of book and audio story sets, both cassette and DVD. Brochures in the children's area represent the "1000 books before kindergarten" program that I first saw at Big Lake, a "Circle of Parents" support group that meets at the elementary school, and a story hour at a local coffee shop.

On my way out, I noticed a rack of "newspapers on sticks" that take me back to my youth, when putting papers onto sticks like those was not my favorite task. And the bookdrop had a sign I like, especially the second sentence: "Please insert large items one at a time. The book drop is a courtesy, not a guarantee."

11/8/2012, car

125. Great River, Eagle Bend

I had missed Eagle Bend when I was planning this trip, but a staff person at Little Falls told me that it was right between two branches I planned to visit. The problem: it wouldn't open until 4 pm, and I surely wanted to be headed south by then. So I stopped by, took a picture, learned what I could from posters in the windows and on the door, and left a "check out the blog" note in the book drop.

So, I can tell you that the branch shares a downtown building with a history center, adjacent to a senior center. There will be a Talking Turkey storytime from 10:30 to 11 on Saturday, November 10; somehow in that short time there will be stories, flannel board, crafts, and snack. Wow! Perhaps I wrote the time down wrong? That seems like a lot to fit into 30 minutes.

There is a poster about "Rebel Pride for a Blue Ribbon School"--I think the Rebels are the local high school teams. A brochure about language learning is displayed: "Journey to a land of 60 languages with Pronunciator." And the "Every child ready to read" poster from GRRL is in the window.

I hope that Eagle Bend staff found the note I left in the book drop and will check out this post. Perhaps they will even be kind enough to leave a comment telling what I missed by not getting inside.

11/8/2012, car

124. Great River, Long Prairie

This is a downtown library that shares a building with an attorney and various other offices. Once inside, however, it was easy to forget the unassuming exterior. One large wall held a handsome mural of the area, and a smaller space had a painting of community members: doctor, police officer, boy, mom with baby, and others.

In the children's area I immediately spotted sixteen 4-H binders on various topics; I think it was Sauk Centre where I first saw such binders. The collection overall is small--hey, the space is small!--but patrons have access to the entire GRRL collection, too. And because the collection floats, new and different books are available each time a patron comes in.

Some attractive quilts hang on the walls. There are Spanish books available, and I noticed a number of Hispanic businesses in town. I spotted at least four public computers, and there are several shelves designated for teen books. The art on the walls and a number of large windows make the space bright and inviting.

11/8/2012, car

123. Great River, Little Falls

A nice day for a drive, so I decided to tackle the farthest-northwest branches of the Great River Regional Library, starting with a Carnegie Library in Little Falls. That's the location of the boyhood home of Charles Lindbergh, by the way.

Like the Carnegie library in Sauk Centre, this one has had an addition "wrapped around" the original building. It was done so artfully here that it took me a while to recognize that the stone and brick walls, with windows into the lower level children's area, were once part of the outside wall.

The library is on four levels. [The entrance is accessible, and there is an elevator.] The top floor houses a teen area that I hope gets a lot of use, because it is very cool. Some good teen programming must be going on, judging by a poster about a book club. From the photos and names it appears to be mostly, but not entirely, girls. There is also a display about the book club exchanging letters with a similar club in Scotland in 2011. The space has a diner booth and a number of tall tables with tall stools to match; one of those tables has a jigsaw puzzle in progress. The collection was modest, but of course patrons have access to the entire GRRL collection.

The next level down is also part of the original library, with a fireplace at each end. The tables and chairs look as if they may be originals (and that is a compliment, folks). The Lindbergh Room is available for quiet study or small meetings. There are periodicals and newspapers, and the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature for years 1990 to 2007, which I haven't spotted anywhere else. Perhaps I've missed it.

The main, entry level includes circulation and the adult collection. The adult fiction, non-fiction, and media sections seem to have been rearranged recently, and the signage hasn't quite caught up! Spanish books are available. There are couches, chairs, DVD and VHS movies, books on cassette, both checkers and chess sets ready to go on small tables, and another jigsaw puzzle in the works.

The lowest level is the children's area, just as it was in my childhood library. The space is half underground but is brightened by many windows at ground level. I like the small bright blue rugs with the "library" logo on them. The picture book area has books in bins, of course, and also puppets, a wooden train set on a table, and a play kitchen. There are couches for adults.

In the older kids' area I like the list of series available, with the shelves marked alphabetically. I know from experience that series books can be very challenging to shelve and maintain. And I especially like the sign on the non-fiction shelves, "If the book you want is not on the shelf, ask a staff person to request it for you." This would be very helpful since the GRRL collection floats.

11/8/2012, car

Original building to the left; the addition blends nicely.

Friday, November 2, 2012

122. University of Minnesota Andersen Library

ADDED on 10/26/2015: Here's a link to a recent article about the caverns that store the special collections, and more:

Andersen Library houses special collections, and includes the caverns carved out of limestone about 10-15 years ago to house various archives.

My Children's Literature course met here last week, because it is the home of the Children's Literature Research Collection. Part of that collection is the Kerlan Collection, which includes manuscripts, graphics, and correspondence representing hundreds of authors and illustrators.

At that class, I learned about the "First Friday" lectures, so I went over today to hear two speakers. The first, representing the Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, talked about gay marriage, and surprised us with an article on the subject from 1950.

The second speaker represented the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, and talked about patent medicines; these nostrums rarely helped the conditions they were touted for, but probably provided a certain relief through their common ingredients, alcohol and opium.

When my class met here, I got the impression that after the First Friday lectures there would be an opportunity to tour the storage areas (which have a formal name that I have forgotten, but are known informally as The Bat Cave). I have an ailing kitty at home today, so I didn't stick around. But next month's speakers will represent the Immigration History Research Center and the Kirschner Cookbook Collection, and I hope to get a tour then. I'll update this post, or add a comment, if I get a tour.

The building is worth visiting on any given day for the displays created by the various collections.

11/2/12, bus/walk

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BIG Books

I stopped by the Friends of Hennepin County Library bookstore today, in the atrium of the Minneapolis Central Library. I bring them my periodicals as I read them: New Yorker, Smithsonian, etc., and I look around to see if there is anything I "need." Today, what a find, for a crazed person with a blog called "Every Library I Can"--a two volume set, the 64th edition of the American Library Directory! 520 cubic inches, many pounds, of library listing in the US and Canada!

Do I need this set? No, of course not! But did I buy it? Of course! A great bargain at $8.00; what else can you get for only 1 1/2 cents per cubic inch? It's a nice blue color, with the title in gold. Now I can really go after the 16,000 plus USA libraries, and the Canadian ones as well. With a bucket this big, I only need one list for the rest of my life!

And are the books interesting? Well, to a certain library nerd, you bet! I was up well past my bedtime, browsing for this library and that, marveling that one sister's town library has more books than I would have guessed, the other's town has no library! Endless time could be spent...

Friday, October 19, 2012

121. Great River, Annandale

A reading corner with upholstered chairs and a large oil painting creates a warm greeting. A neat feature of the adult area is spinners of paperbacks at the end of each shelf of books. Nicely crafted wooden bases for the spinners make them look classy. There are also classic-looking wooden tables here and there, and original art (for sale) on the walls.

Something I haven't seen anywhere else is a set of "Wanted" posters showing cartoonish characters "caught reading." Perhaps someone reading this will add a comment telling the rest of us whether these are available, and where. Please?

The children's area features a large rounded window with a stained-glass insert. This creates a very warm, light, inviting area. (See the first picture, and the far-left of the second picture.) I got so involved talking to a staff person that I rather fell down on the note-taking in this area!

A large plaque lists library supporters at various levels, making it clear that community support for this library is considerable. Above this display is a quotation from Andrew Carnegie: "A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people." A good reminder every time one walks in.

This library shares a building with town offices, seen at the right in the second picture.


120. Great River, Paynesville

When I entered, I first saw the YA "den," with beaded strings hanging in front of a window, a couch, and a boom box with headphones, as well as books. It looked very teen-friendly.

There are US and world maps on the wall, which I always like to see. I also noted that biographies have their own section. Classification is DDS and 920 is "collective biography," but the true biographies are at the end of the 900s, labeled "B". I think there are many biography fans who appreciate this practice.

The reference section includes several old volumes of Stearns County history, and there are about five public computers.

When I got to the children's side of the space, I was surprised to see a large "log cabin" as the central element--see the picture. I talked to the staff person about it and learned that she and her husband built it for another purpose, then brought it to the library "temporarily." Of course, children love it so much, it has to stay! She said that they find books and head straight to it to settle in and read.

I also learned that this relatively small branch has a large circulation. On any given day, they receive 150-300 items to fill patron requests. The whole collection "floats"--that is, items "live" where they are returned, unless collections get severely out of balance. I don't recall whether this was the entire Great River system, or a sub-system; perhaps someone reading this will add a clarifying comment. The advantage of this practice is that patrons coming here do not always find the same titles by Patterson or Grisham, for example.

There is art on the walls that changes monthly, and a magazine exchange in the lobby, a nice practice for smaller libraries.

Off the subject of libraries somewhat, but a reflection of Paynesville: I walked around the main street a bit before getting back in the car, and in the window of the local newspaper a saw a poster titled "Kid Kindness." It was about a project (perhaps on-going?) in which kids prepare "birthday bags" (cake and frosting mix and candles, for food shelf patrons) and "snack bags" (five nutritious snacks, one week's worth, for lower-grade kids who otherwise would not have a snack at school. Hooray for the kids of Paynesville who do this!

10/19/2012, car

119. Great River, Sauk Centre

I've recently read Main Street Public Libraries from the U of Iowa Press. This is one of the four libraries featured in that book. The original part of the building is a Carnegie library, and an addition has been put on in a wrap-around way that allows part of the original brick wall to form an inside wall; if that doesn't make sense--well, you'll just have to drive up and take a look.

The library is up a short set of stairs, and a history center is down; there is an elevator.

The first feature I noticed was a "living room" with chairs, couches, tables, and a couple of large plants, a wonderful place to sit and read. The adults also have some study tables and chairs that look classic. One sign I like: "Enjoy your time with the newspapers. Please return them to the shelf in proper order for the next person to enjoy." Another, less fortunate, sign reminds patrons that a misdemeanor can get you jail time or a fine, and that damage to property will be reported to the police. I regret the facts that I'm sure lead to signs like this, but I support the idea of being public with the problem. I've seen similar signs elsewhere in my library visits.

The J non-fiction shelves have markers sticking out, indicating the locating of popular topics like Space and Dinosaurs, making those books easy to find. (Adult non-fiction have similar signs.) I spotted some 4-H binders (Beef, Swine), something I haven't seen at any other library. There are many book/cassette and book/CD sets available. The younger kids have Lego Duplo, small beanbag chairs, and puzzles.

The YA alcove has a couple of upholstered chairs and a decent collection of books. There are a number of public computers. And of course, this being a Carnegie library, there is a fireplace, this one faced with green glazed bricks. When I talked to staff, I was very pleasantly surprised that one person knew of this blog and had already seen parts of it!

10/19/2012, car

118. Great River, Buffalo

I arrived a few minutes before opening, so I took a walk on a paved path beside the lake. There's something very nice about a library next to a body of water, IMO. And we have plenty of them in Minnesota. Walking by the lake gave me a good look up at the library, at a large window wall with some stained glass. Unfortunately, it doesn't show up in the picture. You'll just have to go see it for yourself.

As I walked in the front door, the first things I noticed were a set of Eric Carle-style pictures of elephants, and an invitation to "talented kids" to "plan and present puppet shows." Going inside, I saw the puppet theater right away. It's rather modern-looking, in a very nice way; a couple of youngsters were already busy with puppets, though the library had only been open for about 5 minutes. The puppet theater is in a room with all the pictures books, which are in wheeled bins that can be moved aside for programs--like puppet shows.

Children's materials are shelved in the "main room," away from the picture books and puppets. I'll hazard a guess that this helps the bigger kids feel grown-up; sort of like the sense I got at Big Lake.

The library has DVDs and CDs, of course, but also has VHS and books on cassette. I really appreciated the books on cassette, because I needed to read (listen to) Tuck Everlasting for a children's lit course, and there it was. I finished both cassettes in the car.

There is a quiet reading room with periodicals and upholstered chairs; it's partially glassed-in, so it's truly quiet, but not isolated. There are a couple of mid-sized meeting rooms, and a row of soft chairs along the window wall that faces the lake.

Because a door was open, I was able to see a spacious workroom for staff. Enviable. Hint, hint to those planning changes where I work! I also spotted a puzzle exchange, something I haven't seen at any other library.

A book sale was going on, and I bought a nice selection of kids' paperbacks for 25 cents each, which I will use for Halloween. [Grinch that I am, I give school supplies and books instead of candy.]

10/19/2012, car

Anoka Website

Just have to give a shout-out to the Anokat, the apparent "mascot" of the Anoka County catalog. OK, I'm a certified ailurophile, but even if I weren't, I'd grin every time I see that piercing look, those whiskers.

I think every library should have a resident cat. There's one in this blog that has a reasonable facsimile (search for "cat" to find it), and of course St. Bonifacius has its lion. But cheers to the Anokat and whoever created it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

71a. St. Paul, Highland Park Branch Revisited

I needed something to do today, so I headed back to Highland Park in St. Paul to try and solve a mystery.

First, though, a sign I overlooked on my earlier visit. As a library page, I often check in media of various types, and I dread the case with the missing disk--or the wrong disk--or the patron's personal disk. Highland Park at least tries to address this with a sign near the AV return: "Please check that all items are in their correct cases." I should have inquired about whether the sign helped, since I know that even dedicated library users don't always seem to read environmental text. But I was more interested in the mystery.

The mystery is this: Since this blog was started on August 7, 2012, there have been approximately 4910 page views (to October 15). Big deal, huh? But almost 10% of those views have been of the original Highland Park post. Out of about 120 libraries I've written about in here, one library gets 10% of the action, about 450 post views! The next runners-up have a tenth of that. Why? Well, I still don't know. I talked to a couple of staff at the library, and nobody knows. I've poked around in the information provided by blogspot, and I can't find any helpful hints.

Do YOU know an answer to this mystery? Please share any knowledge or theories.

10/15/2012, bus

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Question for Readers of this Blog

Hello to anyone reading the blog. I have a question for you. Soon after I started the blog, on August 7, with about 80 entries cut-and-pasted from my Facebook entries, a couple of people said I needed to add labels to make the entries searchable. And after a while, I did so.

Since then, however, I've realized that it was already searchable. You can enter "waite" and get to Waite Park, because Waite Park is part of the post label. So I'm thinking of removing all these labels.

The question: Are there labels that would be useful--some way that you've tried to search the blog that hasn't worked for you? Please leave a comment to let me know.

NOTE: At this point I don't want to use labels that refer to things like "good signage," because I have not been consistent about what I mention in each entry. Labels like that would omit some worthy libraries. But if readers think this would be helpful, I could give it a try.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

117. Great River Regional, Waite Park

It's difficult to follow a large regional library with a small community branch, but Waite Park is clearly a special space. It definitely fits "good things come in small packages" and "don't judge a book by its cover." Several walls have large, attractive murals. Chairs and a table in the children's area are painted with images from well-known children's books. This area is well-stocked and includes a wooden train set and a small kitchen play set to help little ones feel at home and use their imaginations. There is a display of leaflets encouraging parents to help children develop early literacy skills. All picture books and J books are on shelves (not in bins) and signs that stick out from the shelves help young patrons find their way through the selection. A small area of books for teens is marked by a vinyl record (a 78?!) and a few inflated plastic guitars hanging from the ceiling.

The adult area is down a few steps (a wheelchair lift is available) and has a pleasant browsing area. The AV selection has a sign indicating that there have been recent thefts, prompting surveillance, an unfortunate but common situation these days. I thought it refreshing that the sign comes right out and mentions the thefts, rather than simply saying "surveillance cameras are in use" or something like that.

I was intrigued by an array of many glazed clay bowls, all different, on the tops of shelves. To learn what these are about, go to, as I did. It's very interesting and a very worthy cause. I am guessing that "bouja" is the local version of what is spelled "booya" in St. Paul.

9/29/2012, car

116. Great River Regional, St. Cloud

This four-year-old library is really impressive, starting with the unusual bike racks, then the glass panels in the lobby (see picture), and continuing through both floors. I went upstairs first, and found Teen Central looking like a great teen hangout, with tables, couches, computers, and many teen books. Continuing from there, a long, curved window wall is lined with study tables and chairs, and an inner row of upholstered chairs. There is a large reference section, including pamphlet files (which don't seem very common these days). A sign asks that patrons seek help from staff in using these files.

A sign on the computer room asks that patrons take "phone calls, loud conversations, and unhappy children" away from the service desk and the computer room. Good idea, and the first place I've seen "unhappy children" included in such a list! A large area of adult books includes meeting rooms of various sizes and updated-classic tables with study lamps. Bookshelf ends are translucent with a design of small letters on them; these seem to add to the lightness of the area. Several signs ask patrons to "Relax, leave the shelving to us, thank you!" but I didn't see specific areas for leaving unwanted books. I should have asked someone about that.

Staff at the information desk were very helpful in tracking down the age of the building, and also tipped me off to an unusual sculpture outside; it uses recycled materials to screen the mechanical systems. See the picture, which doesn't do it justice.

Downstairs, the first floor houses media, hold shelves, and a huge children's area. There was so much to see. I spoke to a staff person (children's librarian?) who asked what I liked best. Where to start? Quilted book bags for use in the library; ten computers for "children 12 and younger," and room for more; a sign "Ask about our free children's programs;" the play area with Legos, a wooden train set, and a pretend boat. I think my favorite was the book display with a sign "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" I imagine that it draws kids right to it!

Even the restroom was great, with gleaming white, red, orange, and yellow glazed tiles. The bright colors and high ceiling... Well, every library I've visited has had a clean restroom, but this one has to get top honors.

9/29/2012, car

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One I Haven't Visited

A friend in Arizona mentioned signs outside a library there, and he very kindly provided pictures. I not only have not visited this library, but I'm not sure that I want to!

Since I've often commented on signs I see at the various branches, this seems apt. Desert Bloom is a branch of the Phoenix Public Library.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

115. Hudson, WI (MORE Group)

One of the few two-story libraries in my travels so far, Hudson Area Joint Library has a prime location by the river. The first floor has a lobby seating area designated a quiet area, with a sign indicating just what that means (occasional quiet conversation, no cell phones, etc.). There is a small piano or keyboard. Also on the first floor are the computer area, some study rooms, the service counter, and a pop vending machine.

Stairs or an elevator go to the second floor. The stairs are broad, with low rise, very easy to ascend. Upstairs there are two information desks, one in the children's area, one in adults; only the children's was staffed, and a sign on the adult desk directed one there. There is an inviting teen area with funky seating--but no teens on this nice Saturday afternoon.

The Friends' bookstore is large and very well organized. They stock some magazines and have a rack of greeting cards. From the prices on the cards, I'm guessing they've been donated. If so, I applaud this as a way to clear out the cards one buys and never sends, and also make a few extra bucks. There are also some free books, and down a short hallway is a volunteers' workroom and a shelf for donations. I like the idea of a specific place for donations, though a staff person told me that they do still get donations in the book drop--along with those volumes that might be donations or might be books picked up by mistake when collecting the library books at home. A chronic problem in libraries!

Lots of windows look toward the river, a view that is largely screened by leafy trees now. I spotted a small reading porch with just room for a couple of Adirondak-style chairs; very cozy. There are a number of small meeting rooms with policies posted on the door (no money-making activities, like tutoring for pay, for example), and one large oval meeting room.

The entrance to the children's area is dominated by a tall model of the Eiffel tower made of craft sticks, and another made of Legos. There is a reading are with rocking chairs along the west-facing window wall, and a small room for little kids. Another wall has a series of small rooms. The first is for magazines, with at least 13 titles and a couple of beanbag chairs for comfy browsing. The next is for parents or teachers and has a collection of books on special-needs kids, especially those on the autism spectrum. It included a corrugated-cardboard "b-calm" box for "peace within the noise." This seems to be a commercial product, but not one I'm familiar with. (A non-commercial version, 3x3x3 feet with a door and window, painted on the outside to look like a playhouse, is in the main children's area.) A third room is for games, and has a collection of board games and puzzles and a table with a chess/checkers board built in. It also houses many books on cassettes.

There is a history display with booklets for sale. And of course there is a nice walking path along the river, where a father-son team directed me to a fine ice cream place. Great visit.

9/15/12, car

114. Baldwin, WI (MORE Group)

I got here pushed for time, and there was so much to see. In all my visits so far, this is only the second or third place where newspapers are kept on "sticks"--you have to be of a certain age to know what I'm talking about. This library still has audiocassete music tapes and recorded books, and VHS movies; the music tapes are kept in old card catalog drawers. The librarian commented that they are still in demand; she had just shelved three recorded books on audio cassettes. There are bound newspapers and a history room (available for meetings or study), and one corner of a reading area has a poster with a history essay that apparently is changed every few weeks.

Large baskets are used for unwanted books: "Place your unwanted books here, we'll be happy to shelve them."

The children's area has clouds, stars, and other sky phenomena hanging from the ceiling, left from a summer "Dream Big, Read!" reading program. There are lots of puppets, lots of videos, and a big chapter book collection. And the children's program room has a totally cool dragon and castle mural; I think it covered all four walls.

It was close to closing time when I arrived, but the kind and friendly librarian stayed around an extra 10 minutes or more to chat about this library and my project. Thank you!

See those benches in the picture? All libraries should have a couple of benches outside the door.

9/15/12, car

113. New Richmond, WI (MORE group)

You have to love a library that greets you with a display of jokes, comics, and humor books marking "National Smile Month." The building has a number of discrete areas that sort of radiate from the center. The first has plenty of windows, with upholstered chairs and tables with wheeled chairs. This appeared to be a browsing area, with large-print books. A passageway to the teen and children's area passes the restrooms and a windowed workroom for library staff; I like it when patrons can see staff at work! There is also a display of historic photographs, another sign that libraries are often repositories of town history.

The teen area is small but has a bright neon sign to identify it, a slight sense of privacy, soft chairs, and some tall chairs at a counter. It even had a teen patron on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon.

In the children's area I saw a "book fortune teller"--a jar with tongue-depressor sticks, each with a Dewey number. The challenge: pick a stick and choose a book with that number. That would be an easy idea for any library to copy. Two long tables with benches and a sort-of-round table with scooped-out bits (I wish I could sketch in here!) provided some unusual seating. I could imagine a school group or program group using either of these effectively. In addition to the J collection, there are shelves of picture books, bins of board books, and a toy area with dinosaur figures.

Another area has a copy-print-fax station, at least 7 public computers that were being well-used, and Wii games. I think this is the first place outside of Ramsey County that I've seen computer games available, though I may not have noticed them at other sites.

The final area was the stacks, which included some "classic" aisles of books with glass-brick walls at the end.

There's a nice park outside the library, with a ... thing ... that wasn't explained. It seems to have eyes. See second picture.

9/15/12, car

112. Somerset, WI (More Group)

I saw a lot of things that made me think this is a particularly friendly library, including a basket of magnifiers ("Magnifiers available, ask for assistance) and a sign explaining how people who can't get to the library can get books by mail. Nice. Another sign said "Help! We need yours. Be a library volunteer." I also like the one that said "No cell phone use inside. Go outside." Just tell it! Another, in the lobby, said, "Thank you for being respectful. If you choose not to be respectful, here's our policy..." and went on to explain the steps that would be taken. A separate sign defined what is meant by respectful library behavior.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has a  sign in the lobby about a Transportation Reading Challenge, for kids up to 10 years old. Read 10 books, each about a different type of transportation, and get some recognition. Neat idea. Somebody tell the MN Dept of Transportation, OK?

The collection looks good for adults and kids (though I don't really study collections, I'm more interested in ambiance).There seem to be a lot of periodicals. There's even a microfilm reader, and you don't find those everywhere these days. I liked a sign in the kids' area that explained "Easy non-fiction has many photos, few words" and pointed out that they are marked with a red dot.

There are 12 labeled bins of toys available for little kids, including various types of blocks and animals. And there must have been a summer project that resulted in an amusing display of "Frankentoys," toys that have been altered in some way.

I was there during the last half hour of a two-day Friends of the Library book sale. The books were well picked-over, but I thoroughly enjoyed the double-chocolate mint cookies from the bake sale table!

9/15/12, car