Even if you took away the Human Services Department, District Court, and County Services, this would still be a very large building. Like all the newer libraries I've seen, it is full of light from floor-to-ceiling windows. There is a Minnesota Room for quiet reading (with local history books, I think); a large glassed-in room with 20 carrels for quiet study; at least 70 public computer terminals; special business, automotive, and job/career areas. I spotted a handsome display of five Hmong embroidered story panels, given by the Friends of the Library.
Most of my time was spent in the very large children's area. It was loaded with activities to engage kids. There were pages representing "50 Challenges," one for each weekday of the summer, with questions, riddles, and suggested activities, like counting the cars that pass the library in one minute. There was a game that required kids to go to different parts of the library to find letters to decipher a coded message. A librarian showed me how this works: "Jack says 'hi' to a librarian" takes you to the information desk, where you find a sign that says 9 = K, and you fill in "K" above each 9 in the coded message. A kid would have a good grasp of the scope of the library after completing the 16 tasks. There were also laminated pictures of birds and animals here and there, each with a number; I didn't figure out what these were all about; laminated tables with pictures and games; a chess set; manipulative toys for the littlest ones.
A floor-to-ceiling (two floors high) sculpture of a tree with fabulous animals stands colorfully next to the dragon that holds bins of ABC and 123 books. And an enormous castle contains a puppet theater.
Outside, the area is pedestrian-friendly, with a sidewalk to the bus transportation center. There's a large prairie area and some really nice-looking woods to explore. I wonder if anyone explores them?
8/15/12, bus and walking