What a neat, small branch, tucked into a corner of a town I had been to only for ice cream, and not recently. The first thing I noticed was a "living room" sort of area right inside the door, for newspaper and periodical browsing. Then I spotted a carved wooden beaver reading a book in an obscure corner. His name, I learned, is "Brary the Beaver," and he was "banished" to his corner when the service desk was reconfigured. There is also a collection of stuffed animals, on top of the shelves, out of reach. They include quite a few "Cat in the Hat" figures.
I had a chance to talk to the head librarian here. She praised the large, active Friends of the Library group at this branch and pointed out a number of their contributions, including some replicas of antique fire engines. (The library is on the site of a former fire station.)
The big news is that there will be a new Excelsior library in a couple of years. I hope that Brary will have a prominent place in the new building, and I'll be back to check.
The bell outside the library was used on three different steamboats between 1866 and 1898; then it was used at the Excelsior Public School from 1899 to 1962.