Friday, May 31, 2013

157. Escanaba, Michigan

Immediately on entering this library I spotted a new book display, carts with two baskets (like the ones I prefer but see too seldom in grocery stores), a machine applique picture of Escanaba based on photos, a large flat file for maps, and a display of models by the local LEGO club (which includes girls as well as boys, I was glad to see). The overall sense was "this is a dynamic place"!

Books are shelved on nifty shelves that I find it hard to describe. They are wood, and taper from the bottom to the top. Each shelf is topped with lighting enclosed in wood, so the shelves are very well lighted, making books easy to browse. Adding to the visual assistance, the author initials and Dewey numbers are larger than I've seen anywhere else; labels on older items are in what looks like a 3/8" font; newer ones are perhaps 1/4". Both searching and shelving would be aided by the lighting and labels here. Kudos!

The large type collection includes non-fiction, including cookbooks, and reference. It's a large collection; in fact, it's overflowing from the designated shelves to a couple of rows on a broad windowsill!

The browsing area has two-story-high windows looking at--well, it depends on your angle. It was a gray, drizzly day when I visited, but if you look from the right place, you can see a sliver of Lake Michigan. On a sunny day, it might be more than a sliver. A huge jigsaw puzzle was underway near the browsing area, and there is a good-sized "quiet reading room" that also houses the Friends of the Library book sale. Another quiet reading room/meeting room is also nearby.

A large area for genealogical research has the usual resources plus a long table and very good lighting. [Somebody here is very aware of the need for people to have good light for reading!] One item I haven't seen elsewhere is a "guest book" made of 3x5 cards bound with rings that invites people to leave name, address, email, and "families you are searching" so that searchers can find each other. Local historians, I believe, also check these cards and help to find information.

A youth area has metal-and-fabric chairs that look welcoming for teens but would be difficult for elders--one way to keep the elders out of the teen area!

Getting around to the kids' area, there is a wall that alternates tall windows with colorful posters. A window wall sports a large rope "spider web" (with fake spiders) and a broad window seat with storage for toys underneath. A sign says: "Parents, please be responsible to put away toys." Picture books on shelves with casters are arranged to form "parentheses" around a long table with a sloping top and bench on each side. Really nice.

The big feature of the children's area is the S.S. I Can Read sailboat, see picture below.

When I told the librarian about my project, she showed me one wonderful feature I would have missed on my own: a program room, completely closed off from the rest of the library. It has five carpeted risers at one end, tables for crafts at the other end. In some ways it reminded me of the program room in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The librarian also gave me a tour of the library, giving me a chance to comment on the shelves and the lighting, and showed me the workroom, which reminded me of "home."

Just before leaving, I spotted a bulletin board titled "Do We Know Dewey?" with a lot of information about the Dewey Decimal System.

For more information, go to

5/28/2013, car

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