Tuesday, August 7, 2012

41. Saint Paul Central Library

The nearest part is the J.J. Hill Reference Library; I've read that both parts of the building were erected at the same time, but by different builders; must have been interesting.

I only visited the children's area on this trip. It's partly below-grade, but has lots of windows and natural light. Large collection. I like having bins labeled for alphabet books, opposites, colors, etc. I also liked the table covered with paper and with the invitation "Hey, everybody, add your art!"

7/17/12, bus


  1. I returned today with a bit more stamina than last time (not as much bus riding) and decided to check out the adult areas. But first I went back to kids' to tell the folks there about this blog. This time I noticed a small tent set up near the kids' computers (a small boy was very reluctant to leave the tent), and a flyer about "Play Date at the Library--bring a friend Wednesday morning--different topic every week."

    There's a teen room beside the kids' space, separated by the staff desk and a window wall.

  2. This library was built when public buildings were handsome and ornate. [Well, some still are, but in a different way.] The floors and walls are marble, the stairs have fancy balusters. In some places they have wide marble railings that might be fun to slide down but don't give a good grip if one likes a good grip while going downstairs. I took the elevator up to 3.

    The third floor has the magazine room at one end with arched windows and plenty of light. The periodical stacks have some titles back to the 70s, just based on a few quick looks. Walk through these stacks for a great view of the river and the Science Museum's "back yard." There is a "Fitzgerald Alcove" that displays pictures, articles, and (I think) every book he ever wrote.

    The other end of the third floor is called the Mississippi Room and holds all sorts of AV materials, including books on cassettes that I will remember for my next road trip. This room also has language instruction material, books for new adult readers, and world language books.

  3. On my way down to the second floor, I learned from a display that St. Paul Central has been a federal depository for government publications since 1914--that's a LOT of documents! The second floor houses non-fiction browsing and stacks, plus more stacks on a mezzanine level. At the other end of the building is the Nicholson Information Commons, which seems to hold all the Internet computers.

    I forgot to mention that the fiction collection is on the third floor, in the Mississippi Room.

    Also, on the way into the library one sees a sign "Welcome to Your Neighborhood Library." This seems to reflect that Central is not just a "reference" library, but is there to meet the needs of a variety of patrons.

    In fact, for pure reference, one goes to the J. J. Hill reference library in the other half of the building, where it's all reference, all the time, and nothing can be checked out. I haven't been in there for a long time, and only once, and I remember it as rather intimidating and overwhelming.


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