Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting started

There is a sign at the library where I work that says my St. Paul library card can be used at more than 100 sites. These are the various branches in the Metropolitan Library Services Association of Minnesota, which includes libraries in St. Paul and seven counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington. I decided to spend the summer of 2012 visiting each branch.

I created these ground rules for myself:

* Visit in person, while the library is open
* Take a picture of the exterior
* Explore the interior, taking notes of things I especially like (and, rarely, dislike)
* Register my card, if I am in a county where it is not already registered
* Take out at least one book
* Use public transportation (bus and light rail) whenever possible

Sometimes I chatted with staff, sometimes not. This depended on availability, my inclination at the time, and how soon I needed to catch a bus.

I've been posting the pictures and comments on Facebook, but friends have convinced me to switch to a blog.

So I'm going to try it.


  1. Nice looking Blog, Ellen. I need to find a project like this for me to do here in New Hampshire.


    1. Something shopping related, perhaps? Genealogy?

  2. In case anyone is wondering about my rule "take out at least one book," I have tried hard to return books to the system they belong to. I'm not trying to add a big burden to the red MELSA boxes, truly. Though there have been times...

  3. This sounds cool. Maybe I should try and bike to every library in my system. I think there are only 30 in the Peninsula Library System, though. Do you think it is part of a bigger network?

  4. Um, I think if I asked you this question you would tell me to Google it! In this case, start with the Peninsula Library System website. Better yet, ask a librarian! I think it would be great if you tried this project out there, I'd be happy to see what your libraries look like and what you think of them.

  5. Haha...maybe I would, but I did try to look it up on their website & only found the info about there being 30 in the Peninsula system. I am trying to ride my bike every day for 365 days, so this might give me some interesting places to ride, but I think I have ended up owing the library some money again so probably checking out books is out of the question.

    1. You could check out a book at one library, then turn it in at the next. That would cut down on library fines.

    2. First, did I mention that biking to each library in the Peninsula would be totally rad. Or cool. Or whatever good things are these days.
      Second, the best way to find out about other systems is probably by going to the "contact us" link at the bottom of the Peninsula site, then emailing or phoning.


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Sorry about the "verification" step; I added it after a rash of spammish comments.