White Bear Lake library felt different from when I visited last summer--and very different from when I subbed there, 5+ years ago.
To the left as I entered from the street (not the parking lot), is a windowed browsing area with upholstered chairs and plenty of periodicals at hand. I noticed, on the Friends' sale cart, a selection of donated magazines. So far as I've seen, other RCL branches do not accept magazines, which is too bad. It's a good way to reuse them, and every 25 cents is that much more.
The children's area has two computers for kids and an L-shaped window seat. Beneath the seat are plastic bins of thematic play materials. This looks like a very nice way to store a lot of material while keeping it handy. I should have asked whcther having all these bins creates problems at clean-up time! I like the idea of keeping all the "Eyewitness" books together, adjacent to the circulating encyclopdia.
For April, the kids area has a notebook for jokes. I read a few, and they are clearly provided by kids. I believe this is an example of "passive programming"--something intersting to do at the library, without having to wait for the date and time of a more formal program. One joke: "Why is six afraid of seven? Because seven eight nine."
I counted 16 public computers and lots of tables and carrels for one or two people. Teens have their own room. And unique to this site: bound volumes of The White Bear Press dating back to 1911!
For more information, go to http://www.rclreads.org/.