Friday, May 31, 2013

163. Amherst, NH, Public Library

Once again I see the "street sign" signage that I saw in Batavia. There are rows of non-fiction shelves on the main floor and a mezzanine level with additional stacks for fiction; stacks on more than one level are unusual in small libraries like this, in my experience. A first-floor browsing area opens onto a modest rustic reading garden, unoccupied on this very hot day. The browsing area offers many newspapers and more than a hundred periodical titles.

A display table included books and many oaktag signs with famous first lines in literature. It appeared that the goal was to figure out which book the line was taken from; opening the book would afford immediate reinforcement of the correct answer--or not.

A sign by the service desk offered "information and research." I can't recall seeing a sign in any other library offering specifically to help with research, yet that was once a large part of a librarian's job.

The children's area is on the lower level. The entrance to this area houses a Parent Resource Collection, with thanks to the Friends of the Library 2004. Inside the area are the usual pre-school toys, a wooden train set, a tabletop puppet theater, and many picture books in bins. Not so usual is the fact the Wii games are available for loan; I've only seen a handful of libraries outside of Ramsey County, MN, that offer these games.

Beginning chapter books are labeled "E-J," an interesting designation. A computer designated for children has a sign pointing out that the computer is already loaded with games, no more can or will be added, the library staff is not able to help children play the games, and adults are expected to be on hand to help children. A similar sign is posted with the children's DVDs, pointing out that most are rated G but a few are PG, and parents are expected to help their children make choices. A modest number of Playaway video systems are available, but if I were a parent I would be scared off by the label that says the replacement cost is $99; replacement of a charger is $14.95!

Two posters explain the five-finger rule for determing that a book is at a just-right level. A display of new non-fiction books seems to anticipate the new national curriculum that is coming at us. A sign says that you could go to a zoo, explore a museum,..or curl up with a good non-fiction book from your library. Indeed you could.

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5/31/2013, car, with Jean

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