[My apologies to the 11 visitors who reached this post before it was completed; welcome back. This is the first time I wasn't able to create a post on the same day I visited the library.]
This was my first visit to a Winding Rivers library. If this is a representative sample, WRLS must be a marvelous group of libraries, and I look forward to seeing others.
My attention was caught immediately by the handsome quilts hanging from the mezzanine, especially the one with the book motif. Quilts and libraries seem to go together--search the blog for "quilt" and you will find several other examples. Next I spotted a display about a new heirloom seed exchange; the information was good, the beautiful photos of produce even better. Perhaps it was the quilts that drew me upstairs to the adult non-fiction area. The mezzanine level overlooking the first floor had six large study carrels, about 5-6 feet wide. Very nice; a person could really spread out and work here.
Readers of the blog know I'm always on the lookout for interesting signs. I liked this one, which I believe was on the librarian's door: "Need help? If my door is open, I'm available to help you. If my door is shut, please ask for help at the reference desk." I turned away from the (closed) door and quickly found the sign above the reference desk. This seemed very respectful of the librarian's need to get work done and the patron's need to get help.
A narrow, one-sided cart at the end of one non-fiction shelf invited patrons to "Place books here for reshelving" and a stack of baskets were available for browsers carrying many books.
I spotted 32 public computers and a Wisconsin area with readers for microfilm and microfiche, as well as files of both formats and other Wisconsin materials. Across the building I saw an archives room for local history. The reference section pleased me; it's a long time since I've seen the likes of Facts on File (from 1941), volume after volume of Comtemporary Literary Criticism, the New York Times Index (1961 to 1993) and the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature up to 2009. These works are "old friends" of mine; I'm sure that at some point space pressures will oust them in favor of all-computer research, but I'm glad someone is maintaining continuity for now.
Back on the main floor, I'm sorry to say that I bypassed the adult fiction area, drawn as I was to the covered bridge leading to the children's area, with its natural murals along the sides (see picture). The dominating feature inside the chidren's area is a river boat (the "reading boat") It's very impressive and realistic, with large doors that open to the inside of the "boat," which looks just like the inside of a boat and is the site of reading programs for kids. Opposite the boat is a wall of windows and other colorful features, like a four-sided set of carrels for kids' computers, with partitions that look like fish. (My memory says sailboats, my notes say fish; I hope one of those is correct!)
I like the practice of putting some books in their own labeled bins: Star Wars, Eyewitness, and Magic School Bus, in this case.
The Friends of the La Crosse Public Library have a separate room for their bookstore. It closed a few minutes before I arrived, but I was able to buy one of their tote bags at the circulation desk. Thanks, Friends--it matches my luggage!
If you want to see the river boat in the children's area, take a look at www.tinytipsforlibraryfun.blogspot.com. You'll have to scroll down a bit to see it.