Saturday, June 29, 2013

181. Barron, Wisconsin Public Library

This was a serendipitous visit. With a friend, I'd already visited two Wisconsin libraries (and the annual tent sale in Glen Flora!) and we were headed for home in Minnesota. A needed stop in Barron put us right across the street from the library, and the sign about their 100th year. And they would be open for about 20 more minutes! I had to move fast!

In the lobby, I saw the old card catalog file, still filled with cards. I should have asked about it. Card catalogs have been turning up more and more--see the entry for Philips Exeter, for example. The lobby also held the Friends book sale; $1.00 for a bagful this week, but there was no time for shopping.

I headed upstairs, following a sign to the children's area. Moving and scribbling notes faster than I would have liked, I found a the kids' books shelved on classic wooden shelves, Playaways and recorded books in turntable slots, a cabinet full of shells and coral, kid-sized chairs and couch. Someone had made a large structure of Duplo blocks. A notice by the computer says that the library now has access to the Accelerated Reader lists. [Mixed feelings about that, folks.] A sign points out that parents are responsible for their children: "Do not leave young children unattended through age 11." This seems especially important since the children's area is on a separate level of the building.

Back downstairs I found the adult fiction and non-fiction collections, DVDs and genre paperbacks in spinners, lots of large print books, a section labeled "Inspiration Fiction," a microfiche reader, and four public computers. Although it was very close to closing time, a librarian was giving detailed technical help to one computer user. How the librarian's job has changed!

Clerestory windows add brightness to the browsing area. A free-standing shelf in this area holds books on languages, including ESL, and on citizenship. It was nice to see these featured. The reference section includes several 3-ring binders of Barron County history.

I talked to a very enthusiastic librarian who wanted to be sure that I realized I was in a Carnegie library--and I hadn't known that, although the older part of the building gives all sorts of hints, at least one of them not at all subtle--see second picture below. It's the Carnegie part of the building that is celebrating a centennial this year. The design was done, or at least influenced, by Frank Lloyd Wright; my notes are sketchy, perhaps someone reading this will clarify in a comment...please?

For more information, go to

6/28/2013, car



Friday, June 28, 2013

180. Bloomer, WI, Public Library

The welcome here starts before you enter, with two very nice sculptures of kids reading (love the girl with her sandals beside her on the branch, bare feet dangling) and a very placid mallard duck sitting on a nest in the corner by the door. It's clear she's at home there and accustomed to the foot traffic nearby, as she didn't so much as twitch when we walked by.

A plaque inside says that this is formally the G. E. Bleskacek Family Memorial Library, built in 1987. I think communities are very fortunate when they have (had) someone who cared enough to ensure that they have a library.

There are summer reading programs for every age: The Rubber Ducky Club for infants through 35 months, Dig into Reading for age three through entering grade five, Tween 2 Teen for those entering sixth through 12th grade, and Groundbreaking Reads, a raffle for adults. The "Dig into Reading" theme is expressed in other ways, like a Mud Party! (sorry I missed that) and Worms & Mud! (not sorry that I missed the worms). There's also a Junior Gardeners program. This is clearly a library that is not afraid to dig in, at least on Tuesdays: "Book Bites: Children and caregivers, join us for a messy good time as we read stories and have some messy thematic fun. Wear old clothes or swim suits, and pack your towels and lunch! Water to wash off will be provided."

The inside of the library is fun, too. The children's area features a sturdy reading/playing loft. There are a few tables with chairs, a large soft chair, and some bean bags, plus a large TV for Wii games. Recorded books are showcased with a Seussian poster and rhyme: "On a train or on a plane, In the car, from near to far. Listen, listen, here they are!" Next to the service desk is a brown-paper volcano with red crepe paper lava flowing down its sides: Mount Biblioteca, erupting at a library near you. It's clear that this library has an energetic and creative staff.

The picture book shelves greet the user with a sign "Welcome to Picture Book Place." Picture books are shelved by topic, not by author. This practice seems very effective for a mid-sized collection. Spines are labeled with P for Picture Book and the category, for easy shelving: PANIMALS, PTRANSPORTATION, for example. And there is also a general category for those books that just will not be sorted. On the wall is a poster from the Indianhead Federated Library System that points out the scary statistic that a child who hears 11 million words per year knows about 1116 words by age 3, while a child who hears only 3 million words a year knows only about 525 words by age three. The message is clear: READ AND TALK TO KIDS!

OK, the library is for older patrons, also.  There are four public computers, a large window by a browsing area, YA books with the poster "US of YA," showing YA books with stories based in each of the 50 states. Adults can enter a raffle each time they read a book this summer. First prize, $100 gift card to Menards. Second and third prizes, $50 gift cards ditto. (For those not in this area, Menards is similar to Home Depot.)

The very good news about this library is that it's perhaps the busiest I've seen in my travels. The bad news is--it was so busy, I didn't have a chance to speak to anyone on staff. I left a note about this blog, and I hope it was found.

For more information, go to Do take a look.

6/28/2013, car, with NJ

See the raised flower bed by the door? The duck has her nest in the corner. Here's a duck from another year, with her ducklings, thanks to Meagan. A bit more of the story is in the Comments below.

And here is this year's Quackers with her second brood, recently hatched. Doesn't she look proud of herself?! Thanks, Meagan!

179. Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

First library I've visited in the Indianhead Federated Library System of Wisconsin. There is a lot going on here! For starters, each week this summer features a different decade of the past century. This week is dedicated to the 1960s, and this is reflected in posters, 45 rpm records, trivia questions, and even the clothing on some staff members. A lot of work and care is going into this theme.

There is a summer reading program for every age. The two- to six-year olds work on the Wee Reader Reading Record, completing, with parents, a choice of activities that range from creating rhyming words and sentences to reading with your child to attending story times, and many, many other options. Activities completed earn an escalating series of prizes, from a sticker to a book or stuffed animal.

Kids seven to 11 years old complete a reading record and receive a prize for each of six levels (2 hours of reading per level). Additional options include reading three historical fiction books to earn a state park pass, and reading three dinosaur books for a pass to a cave. And this is a simplified description of all that is offered for this age. The prizes for all young children come from the Friends of the Library, parents who offer toys like unused Happy Meal toys from McDonalds, and other donations.

Young adults (12 to ?) have a bingo sheet with nine activities, including "Look up your birthdate on microfilm. Print out a news story from that day. Ask a librarian for help printing." All nine activities must be completed to win a prize. Other options can be completed for additional chances at prizes.

OK, enough with the summer reading program--what about the library? An area called The Lounge has art on the walls, a display of quilts, and plaques listing the names of library benefactors. One of three large, old-looking, rockers is in this area. The browsing collections of newspapers, magazines, and reference works are close by. A sign asks "Please, when finished reading magazines, retun them to collection basket or green cart." That's pretty standard. The unusual addition is "It helps us decide what magazines to buy." I think it helps compliance when people are given reasons.

There are creative display touches throughout the library. An especially neat one is an old TV cabinet, minus picture tube, used to display old movies on DVD. According to signs, the mezzanine level holds a collection for Wisconsin Studies and the Teen Cafe. I didn't go up, but I could see a couple of "diner booths" for the teens. A simple touch, but one I'm sure is helpful for some patrons, is a desk with a large lighted magnifier, the kind often used for crafts. There are at least eight public computers.

Over in the children's area, there is a large picture window framing a bird feeder. A couple of computers have these rules: Before six pm, to be used by kids aged 12 and under. An adult may use the computer only to help a child, if help is needed. Time limit of 30 minutes. After 6 pm, adults may use these computers, but they must give them up if a child needs one. Very interesting--and respectful of children. The final "rule" says that "We may change the rules if needed." In another part of the children's area a "game computer" may be used only by kids ages five to 12.

Conversations with the children's librarian and her assistant pointed out that the library sees great value in its role in helping parents who are home-schooling their children. Among other ways they help, they provide plastic bins with materials for the study of various themes, like Ocean, Human Body, and Math.

Finally, a sign in the preschool play area asks that you "Please put your toys away before leaving the children's area."

For more information, go to

car, 6/28/2013  with NJ

Thursday, June 27, 2013

15a. Hamline-Midway branch, St. Paul Public Libraries--re-visit

I used to visit this branch quite often; it's just on the margin of my walking distance, on a good day. Then I started taking classes at the U, and my bus goes right by another branch. So I haven't been here since last summer's visit, and a lot has changed! The friendly staff I recognized are still here, but...

Where I used to sit and read the comics in the daily papers, resting my feet for the walk home, there is now a pillar displaying new books. Where the new books used to be...the shelves are full of mysteries. The Requests have been displaced by periodicals, papers, and large print books; I found the new Request shelves on the other side of the first floor space, between the service desk and the children's area. I think there used to be about six public computers; that number has more than doubled.

There is a section labeled "Black Authors" that I haven't seen in many of the libraries I've visited. What I think of as the "back room" still holds most of the non-fiction collection, and a very helpful poster about the Library of Congress classification system. I need a copy of that; I'm much more fluent in Dewey than in LC. This area also has travel books, reference, language, and testing guides, plus the music CDs. There is a computer for word processing and a printer/copier. The non-ficiton books extend from this room across one wall of the children's area.

The children's area seems pretty much unchanged from what I recall, with a colorful rug, assorted toys, plenty of picture books and a good selection of fiction. Juvenile non-fiction is intershelved with adult non-fiction. Also, non-fiction DVDs are shelved with the books, a system I've seen in several places lately. The more I see it, the more I think it's a good way to go.

I'd never before been downstairs in the library, but today there was a children's program while I was there, so I followed the crowd to a fairly large room where a yoyo-ist was demonstrating his skill to an avid young audience. This room is down a set of stairs from the side door; the hallway inside the door was a complex parking lot for the strollers and wagons parents had used to transport their young charges. I've heard of a meeting room with a fireplace on this lower level; I didn't see it today, so I shall have to drop in again. Perhaps I should attend a program for adults, you think?

For more information, go to

6/27/2013, car (but only because I was out doing other errands; can be done by bus)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

39a. Hennepin County, Westonka Branch, Mound, MN -- Revisit

A sign of how this project is evolving: I visited Westonka in July 2012 and again today. I just looked at my entry from last year, and my notes from this year, and this will be a totally different entry. Not that what was there last year is gone, but that what I see now is different.

From the lobby, I peeked into a multi-purpose meeting room with indications that it is used for programs for both kids and adults. It seems to me that libraries where the meeting room is separate from the library proper have a lot of flexibility, in that they can hold programs when the library is not open.

I headed for the kids' area first, and found a bright corner for the littlest patrons. There is a toy stove, lots of play food, a dishrack of toy dishes, dress-up clothes in a chest, and a full-length mirror. There must be times when this area is very lively! There is a bookcase full of board books and bin after bin of non-fiction and fiction picture books. A wooden structure, perhaps a barn, held dinosaurs and "community helper" figures when I was there--I'm sure that it changes often. The area is lightened by a long window wall--see windows to the left of the tree in the picture below.

Libraries are in the forefront of the effort to increase early childhood literacy, and I was glad to see reminders to parents of how play activities contribute to literacy. In addition to posters and brochures on the subject, one great example was a supply of half-sheets of paper with a very simple maze: help the stegasaurus find the strawberries--and a note to parents at the bottom of the page: "When I have fun with mazes, I am also practicing how to control a pencil. This will help me when I start writing letters and words on my own."

A sign by the juvenile fiction books asked kids to "Please check out some of these books today!" This reminded me of the "Pick Me!" book display that I saw in St. Cloud, MN, last summer.

The adults also get a long window wall with seating for browsing and study. All non-fiction is shelved together, except for picture books. In the genre fiction area I saw a sign by the Westerns: "Readers Advisory: Search the catalog by author, series, or subject heading WESTERN STORIES." This struck me as a helpful nudge to patrons looking for "more of these." They can always ask a librarian, of course, but this gives a bit of independence for those who want to search on their own but aren't sure how to start.

I believe there are at least eight public computers, plus six in the children's area and four in the teen corner, plus catalog (non-Internet) computers.

I had finished a HCL book on the bus ride and wanted to return it. When I asked about the book return, I had to laugh: it's at the end of the counter in exactly the same relative location as the book return where I work, and has a sign in the same place, about 8 feet up in the air! "Clear Only If Known" as a co-worker used to say.

I had a pleasant chat with the library staff who were at the desk. It was very nice to have one of them ask "Are you the one who has the blog "Every Library I Can?" Wow, she even knows the name of the blog! My heart was warmed.

For more information, go to

6/25/2013, bus to the end of the line, then a bit of walking

Saturday, June 22, 2013

59a. Dakota County Library System, Galaxie Library, Apple Valley--Revisit

Nice travel day today; the thunderstorms blew themselves out last night. A bus to downtown Minneapolis, light rail to the Mall of America, a free ride on the brand-new Red Line, a "bus rapid transit" route from MOA to Apple Valley. Visited the library, had lunch at Culver's, reversed the transit segments to get home.

OK, now for the library. This is a re-visit. The first thing I noticed was a sign on the door: This Facility is Under Surveillance." This interested me because last weekend I was discussing with my boss whether the library where I work adequately notifies people that video cameras are in use. And that discussion was based on a sign at an Anoka library.

Just beyond the lobby is a display of books called "Lucky U" books. These are similar to rental books in Ramsey County and Bestseller Express in Hennepin. But here (and I assume throughout Dakota County) these bestsellers go out for just one week, no renewal, and it didn't appear that there is a rental fee. Just beyond this is a separate room full of media, DVDs, CDs, and recorded books. A large alcove houses copiers, printers, a change machine, and a table for collating and whatever. The county law library is also here; there's a desk for a Law Librarian, but it was not staffed on this Saturday afternoon.

Continuing straight ahead I found the world language collection with Spanish books for kids and adults, Vietnamese and Russian books for adults only (I think) and an adult literacy section for those learning English.

Along the south side is a broad curved window wall with nine comfortable-looking chairs near the large-print books, periodicals, and newspapers. An interesting idea is that the current, 2013, periodicals are on slanting shelves, the kind where past issues are placed beneath/behind the latest), and older periodicals are in open bins classified by topic.

The teen area is quite large, with fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels. There are two "diner booth" seating areas, with a prominent sign reminding users that there is to be No Food, No Drink. The non-fiction collection includes "Know Your Money Resources for Teens and Adults." It strikes me as a good idea to emphasize this topic, and I recall seeing the same sort of display in DCL branches last summer.

The teen area didn't seem to have its own computers, but there is a computer lab with 12 computers, and about two dozen more throughout the adult area. There are also at least five one-person study rooms.

The picture book bins-and-shelves are standard, but I really liked the bold green letter labels. A separate program area has three semi-circular carpeted risers, and a sign, "Please remember that this is a reading area, not a playing area." Signs on the wall remind parents that they enhance literacy for their children when they Read, Sing, Write, Talk, and Play, with examples of how each type of activity contributes to literacy.

There are two catalog computers and six Internet computers for kids. A space-themed quilt and one that appears to have Dakota County scenes, plus a smaller quilt and some fabric banners, enliven the walls.

The Bookawocky reading program is in full swing. I missed the binder in the kids' area, but on the librarian's desk I saw a bulging binder of teen book reviews. I had a nice chat with several staff before I left.

For more information, go to or look for the library on FaceBook.

6/22/2013, bus, train, bus rapid transit, walking

Thursday, June 20, 2013

84a.. Roosevelt Branch Library, Minneapolis--Real Visit

SOMETHING NEW: Here's a link to a fine article about this well-loved library:

I may have said in the past that I visited all of the MELSA libraries last summer. And in a sense, that was true. However, there was one that I could only admire from the sidewalk because it was closed for renovations. Today, I have truly completed by goal of visiting all of the libraries in the seven-county MELSA area.

This small library is nestled into a residential area, across the street from Roosevelt High School. The most interesting features architecturally are the window seats and corner posts around the outer walls, all with tile highlights. The corner posts are topped with lamps that I'm sure must be original, with glass shades. The lights hanging from the ceiling look original, too. I had the good fortune to be able to talk to the librarian about the renovations, and the first thing she mentioned was a no-longer-leaky skylight. They also downsized the service desk, moving some work functions to a back room, and put in main-floor restrooms. Some public art, a tile mural behind the service desk and some other tile features, will be installed later this summer. I hope to go back and see it in the fall.

The summer reading program has only been underway for a week or two, but already a three-ring binder of "Read-Write-Draw" pages is starting to fill. Picture books fill bins, with more on shelves beneath, a pretty standard practice, but the child-sized table shaped and colored like a leaf, with its four animal-themed chairs, is unusual and very nice. Beyond the chidlren's area to the rear of the building is a fairly large room with sliding glass doors, ready for children's programs or community meetings.

I like the metal signs that designate areas of the collection: Audiobooks, World Languages, Fiction, Nonfiction...  The World Languages available are Spanish and Somali. They have a classic look that fits well with the woodwork and tile.

The rest of the library has 12 public computers and several areas with tables and chairs for browsing and study. Teen novels, travel books, biography, and urban fiction have their own areas on the shelves.

I was intrigued to learn from the librarian that when Minneapolis was first laid out, the planners made sure that every home was within one mile of a public library. With urban expansion this has not been maintained, but it must be said that libraries are everywhere in this city.

Great WELCOME sign out front.

To learn more, go to or

To read and see more about the public art mosaics, try this article:

6/20/2013, bus, train, and walk

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bette Davis Movie

1. I started working as a library page at the age of 15, in the 1950s. One of my first memories of that job was having a tour that included "the tower," an isolated part of the stacks. I was shown boxes of books that had been donated and were causing a challenge for the library. The books were in German; World War II had ended barely a decade earlier. The challenge lay in the perception that these books must not be put on shelves where they might be seen; that would suggest that the library board/staff members were German sympathizers. On the other hand, they could not be discarded: what if the donor discovered them gone and extracted vengeance? This probably seems crazy in the light of the libraries I visit that pride themselves on extensive world language collections.

2. About a year ago I chanced upon a book at the Minneapolis Central Library, The dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown : civil rights, censorship, and the American library / by Louise S. Robbins.
The book tells the story of a librarian in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, who was dismissed from her job because she refused to remove books about Communism from the library. [She also believed that African Americans should have the same access to library services as anyone else.] At the end of the book, I learned that in 1956 a movie had been made about her story, Storm Center, starring Bette Davis.

3. I found that the movie is available for sale on the Internet for about $20, mentioned it to a librarian where I now work (again, as a page), and she agreed to try and order it. It finally worked its way through the ordering and cataloging process. To my surprise, by the time it was available I was the
first of seven people on the request list--and I was headed out on my big road trip, so I had to suspend the request. I'm back, I got the movie yesterday, and it was well worth watching. I recommend it if you have any interest in the life of a librarian facing issues not far from some we face today. Yes, it is a black-and-white 50s movie; don't let that stop you!

Have your library get a copy, or try ILL; it's available through Ramsey County Library System in Minnesota. You are probably clever enough to find it through some online service, too. If you watch it, leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

31a. Anoka County Library, Johnsville Branch, Blaine, MN--Revisit

First thing I noticed was a sign inviting me to look for Wally the Walleye, who is hiding in the library in a new place each week. If I found him and told the librarian, I would get a sticker. I didn't find him. I usually can't spot the rabbits at Trader Joe's, either. *sigh* I did spot the "word cloud" poster, however. This week's question: favorite ice cream flavor. Hope it isn't just for kids, because I added mine.

The children's area has a bright windowed alcove with an Art Cart, a play kitchen, and a table with "placemats" laminated onto it. (These tables seem to be ubiquitous in Anoka County this summer.) I made notes of several books on display that were new to me, and I want to look for them in my home system. A couple of young teens were shelving; very nice to see that.

The adult area has carrells along one wall, at least eight public computers, comfortable seating for browsers in a couple of areas, and a table with a built-in chess/checkers board. No game pieces, however. Oversized books are shelved flat, a practice I'm seeing (or noticing) more and more.

This write-up seems slim. Perhaps that is because this was the fourth library in the ACL in one afternoon; it's hard to stay fresh. It may also be because I spent a good chunk of time talking to the librarian, a transplant from Arizona. Among other things, we talked about the Bookawocky summer reading program kickoff last weekend. The theme here was "bubbles" and she showed me pictures of kids (and adults) standing on a plastic "milk crate" in the middle of a kiddy pool of powerful bubble stuff, while a hula hoop was used to pull a bubble up and around them. The looks on their faces: priceless. I expect that the faces of staff were also priceless when they realized that one thousand people had turned out for this event!

For more information, go to Perhaps they'll post some of those bubble pictures.

6/14/2013, car

Friday, June 14, 2013

29a. Anoka County Library, Rum River Branch, Anoka MN--Revisit

A sign as I entered informed me that during my visit I might be photographed, videotaped, or recorded, by library staff or contractors, and the results displayed at the library. Well, forewarned is forearmed; I resolved to behave even better than usual during this visit!

I also saw a sign that is probably displayed at all of the Anoka County branches: kids 17 and under can "read down your fines" through the whole month of June, at the rate of 15 minutes of reading to forgive $1.00 in fines. Nice deal!

The oldest thing in the library? The walls, which are made of 450 million year old Kasota limestone from Mankato, MN, [I was told "kerasota" limestone and 400 million years; after some on-line checking, I made a couple of revisions.]

I really like the custom here of shelving audio books along with "real" books. They are not totally interleaved, as I've seen in at least one other place, but sort of in clumps: Books by authors whose last names start with A, for example, would be together, with any audio books that go with them on the same or a nearby shelf..

There are at least three murals in the kids' area, including one in a room that is used for programs. There are lots of windows. A "fire engine" provided a cozy seat for one young boy; shelves nearby featured many books about fire fighting. There are three computers for chidren.

Moving over to the adult area, there are vending machines for hot drinks and soda. A sign in the rest room says that if one needs a diaper for "your baby's emergency," to speak to staff in the children's area. That's a wonderful service.

There is a windowed corner with a computer, the YA collection, and seating for teens.

Large window bays are used for seating areas for browsing; these look out on a natural area with bluebird houses nearby and a forested parkland beyond. Very nice. Newspapers are displayed in an unusual way, in large hanging folders. There are many carrells and about a dozen computers for adult use; a detailed Internet Use Policy is displayed near the station used to reserve a computer. There are at least ten Archer Mayor mysteries, which earns bonus points!

On the non-fiction shelves I spotted a couple of issues of Say it in Writing a Creative Writers Newsletter. "If you are willing to share your writings, your expertise or opinions, or if you are just interested in improving your skills or vocabulary, even if you just want to listen and enjoy the fellowship of others from varied backgrounds with the same interests, come join Creative Writers Connection at 1:00 PM every Monday at the Coon Rapids Civic Center." The validation of having their writing printed and placed in the library where anyone can read it must be very validating for members of this club.

6/14/2013, car

When I visited in 2012 it was too darned hot to do anything outside; this year I took a long walk in the park and took this picture looking back at the library.

28a. Anoka County Library, Crooked Lake Branch, Coon Rapids, MN--Revisit

"Bookawocky" is the summer reading program throughout the Twin Cities metro and suburban area--a nicely vague label that different libraries interpret as suits them. Here, the display is of old-timey luggage and piles of books wrapped in maps. Very nice. I also liked a bulletin board titled "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" (which it has been lately), with 3D clouds at the top, pictures of cats and dogs at the bottom, and plenty of related storybooks nearby.

The children's area has a large window that is low enough for the toddler set to look out. An Art Cart had pattern blocks, and there are a number of signs telling parents how various activities help their kids develop. (A wall shelf labeled "Early Literacy Toys" was empty...hmmm.)

I spotted about 10 public computers. A shelf labeled "Reference" holds non-fiction books on CD--signage hasn't kept up with some furniture rearrangement, perhaps. All non-fiction, including J, is shelved together.

The request shelves have signs explaining how to pick up holds, and points out that if you have many, they may be on the bottom shelf. All items circulate for three weeks; interlibrary loans, rental DVDs, and books that have been requested may not be renewed. Although everything can be borrowed for three weeks, the signs point out that "early returns are appreciated."

For more information, go to

6/14/2013, car

26a. Anoka County Library, Mississippi Branch, Fridley--Revisit

I've been home for a week, so I'm getting restless. Seemed like a good day for a little drive up to Anoka County. I started with the Mississippi Branch in Fridley. Several signs thank the Fridley Lions Club for maintaining the attractive grounds. A Lion (I assume) was treating weeds to some kind of poison as I walked in. The lobby area is quite large, which probably comes in handy when the two meeting rooms are in use. The "wall booth" for a payphone is still on the wall, but the phone has been removed. I guess the assumption is that everyone carries a cell phone now; since I've started carrying mine, that may be a safe assumption.

There's lots of room to study here, with a row of 4-person carrells. (Someone who should have known asked me the other day what "study carrells" are. In this case, it's tables with low walls on three sides so your stuff doesn't scootch over to someone else's space. To see some really nice ones, look at the Phillips Exeter Academy Library in this blog.)

It appears that the whole Anoka County Library system has simplified its lending policies, with everything circulating for 3 weeks. Rental DVDs are $1.00 for three weeks. That sounds like a real bargain for a new release--where I work, rental DVDs are $1.00 a day.

One service I haven't spotted anywhere else is described on this sign, in the appropriate non-fiction area: "To create authorized, customized legal forms, ask your librarian for Gale LegalForms."

A teen corner has four upholstered chairs, a good-sized collection of YA fiction, and a nice display of suggested "good reads," "non-fiction," and "true stories."

The browsing area for papers and periodicals faces an attractive courtyard, and the  booksale cart was selling with a BOGO policy: buy one, get one of equal or lesser value.

The children's area has a window wall facing the courtyard. There were some kites hanging near the ceiling, but at first glance the space seemed uninspiring. Fortunately I talked to the children's librarian and learned what was up: Later this summer the area will get a "Creative Play Spot," courtesy of the Children's Museum. This will be wonderful, but in the meantime a lot of work goes into weeding the collection, rearranging the space, and so on. I will try to get back in the Fall to see how the project comes out

A series of "Story Walks" will be available in Anoka County parks this summer. Here's a description from the brochure: ". Stroll leisurely while following the pages of a story laid out before you on the path. Walk at your own pace to discover what happens next. Enjoy book, nature, and realth related activities after your walk. Perfect for the whole family!" This sounds very similar to a program in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, near the Loon Mountain ski area, except their story is there for a long time, not just on a specific day.

For more information, go to or

6/14/2013, car

Saturday, June 8, 2013

178. Forest Lodge Library, Cable, Wisconsin

I saw a picture of this library on the Internet a few months ago and knew I had to work it into my travels. From the library brochure: "The Log Cabin Library in the Wisconsin North Woods. Free Internet Access (Wireless, too!) Unique Natural History and Wisconsin collections. On-line Databases. One Library Card for 29 Libraries. Member of NWLS [Northern Waters Library System]. Experienced & friendly staff. A Joint Public Library of the Cable & Namakagon Communities." The library motto is Free People Read Freely. All libraries could well adopt that statement.

That pretty well sums it up, but I'll add some things that I noticed. It truly is a log cabin, so of course there is a wonderful stone fireplace. Above the fireplace are pictures of the founder and her mother. On the mantle, a remarkable carved clock. Shelves along the walls are split logs; you have to visit and see them to understand how cool they are. The long reading table in the middle and the librarian's desk are original, dating to 1925. But while the library is rooted in the past, it is also modern, with three public computers, wi-fi, and access to the collections of the NWLS and beyond. The computers are in wooden carrells especially designed and built to fit the space available, adding to the human scale and feel of this library.

The top shelves hold very old books, with a sign stating that "Books on this shelf are not catalogued for circulation." In the children's area, however, the top shelf holds Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, and a large collection of the stories of Thornton Burgess that do circulate--"ask the librarian for assistance". I don't recall seeing Thornton Burgess books in any other library lately, though Minneapolis Central probably has them in the stacks. My Dad read all of these to me when I was very young.

Also in the children's area are a low shelf with crayons, paper, and coloring books, and a modest collection of every type of book (picture books, easy readers, fiction, non-fiction) that one would expect to find. There is a collection of puppets and a bench (by the same person who made the computer carrells) can serve as a puppet theater. Mesh "discovery bags" provide collections of books and games on various topics.

There is an especially large collection of field guides, witness to the period when the library and the Cable Natural History Museum were merged. (They are now separate again.) There is a room with fiction, some shelves of mysteries, and books for sale in the vestibule. What I did not see (perhaps I missed them?) were romance novels and science fiction.

If you're in northern Wisconsin, stop in; you'll find the library staff to be friendly and welcoming. To learn more, go to [When I went to that site I saw a notice about Library Chocolate. How I missed that, I can't imagine. I did buy a canvas totebag with "Free People Read Freely" on it, however.]

6/7/2013, car

Thursday, June 6, 2013

177. Bayliss Public Library, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, USA

Interesting lobby with the entrance to a Community Room, coat racks, a couple of benches for waiting, putting on boots, what have you, and a Lions' collection box for eyeglasses. Outside, a bikerack shaped like a bike--cool.

The adult area has 10 computers, a public fax machine ($2 for the first page, $1 each for additional pages), two readers for microfilm/fiche, a cabinet with, among other things, newspapers back to 1846 on microfilm. There seems to be a lively interest in history and genealogy across the UP.

Media includes both VHS and DVD. A gorgeous quilt on the wall is the "EUP Peace Quilt." I'll take a guess that EUP stands for Eastern Upper Peninsula; if I'm wrong, I hope someone will leave a comment to correct me. Please. I like the quotation displayed with the quilt: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."

There are dozens of puzzles and a shelf of paperback books that are not marked on the spine. They puzzled me until I saw paperbacks in the fiction collection with a sign reminding patrons that "These books must be checked out." In the genre collections, the number of mysteries and romances didn't surprise me, but the fact that there are as many westerns as romances blew me away! I must have missed the sci-fi collection; there surely is one. There are a lot of audio books on CD, large-print books, and a good-sized non-fiction section. This is another library that shelves oversized non-fiction flat on the bottom shelves. Good idea!

A sizable area for browsing and study has large windows that look out on a park-like area. Very nice.

The teen area has a number of the small, low, round chairs that I started seeing early in this trip. The advantage I see is that they will make the area definitely for teens: teens can get in and out of these low chairs; most adults wouldn't even try.

A yellow dot on the spine of a book indicates that it is a new book and circulates for three weeks. A red dot indicates a best-seller, one week only.

The children's area houses a delightful miscellany. The tops of shelves are used for storage (floor chairs) and display (a prize-winning doll from 1993--happy 20th anniversay to the doll--and a LEGO construction). There is a large section of biographies, a bench with hooks for outerwear, a changing table. Four round tables with 24 brightly colored chairs made me wonder if school classes come here.

The pre-school crowd has a bright area with a large window and many toys. Sign: "Did you remember to pick up the toys?" A wonderful semi-circular amphitheater with a mural and a storyteller's chair is a great place to host programs. One program I saw described is the Brown Bag Family Book Club for kids ages eight through 12, each with an adult. Participants bring a sandwich; the library provides fruit, veggies, and a beverage. The summer reading program started today, and judging from the name cards posted on the amphitheater walls, at least 80 kids have already signed up. That's great!

There are three computers for kids, and a fourth that is labeled "Sorry, there are no games on this computer. This is the card catalog. Look it up here!" An adjacent sign explains three levels of availability: the local library, UPCat (Upper Peninsula Catalog) and MeLCat (Michigan Electronic Library Catalog. It seems to me that explaining it clearly like this empowers patrons in their searches.

Finally, I like the large full-color poster showing a local middle school teacher exhorting the viewer to READ. It's from 2009--I hope she's still teaching, because someone who is willing to be on a poster is probably dynamite in the classroom.

For more information, go to

6/6/2013, car

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

176. Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, Ontario, Canada

Visiting this library was a good chance to stretch my legs after a long day of driving from NH, so I walked there from my motel. It was well-worth the walk. The building dates to 1914. It was designed by architect Francis Conroy Sullivan, who was an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. The geometric stained-glass windows certainly show Wright's influence.

The upper level has browsing areas, a cafe with three tables and self-serve coffee, and eight public computers. A video was playing softly near the cafe. The stacks are very light and bright, thanks in part to the colorful yellow shelving. Signs on the end of one row list Canadian genre authors, and it seemed that all fiction is shelved together. Instead of a separate area for Mysteries, for example, you would identify the name of the author you want and find the book with the other fiction. I can see some advantages to this.

The non-fiction stacks are on the other side of this level, and there are more easy chairs in an area designated the Subhash Mehta Memorial Reading Room.

The lower level houses the teen's and children's areas. There are four computers for their use. In the teen area I saw two interesting displays. One was an array of book jacket art from many teen books. The other was a "broken heart" with the suggestion that if you were looking for a "dark" book, you could look for a book marked with a black heart; for a more upbeat book, look for a red heart. I think this approach would be very appealing to some teens.

From the teen area, you come to a large collection of J books, fiction and non-fiction (and a changing table in an alcove!?), then the preschool area with Seuss graphics on the walls, and an early reading area. A notebook for parents is designed for "Matching your child's grade level to the books in this library." It explains the designations for various reading levels and how they are indicated on the books. I was glad to see this on the first page, however: "You must start where they are..."

I was running out of steam, or I would have spent more time with the "Brain Builders," books apparently on school topics but in storybook form. I'd like to know more about that, if someone would like to write a comment on it. Please?

For more information, go to

6/5/2013, car

175. Mooers Free Library, Mooers, New York

This small library caught my eye six or seven years ago. It was the town name that attracted me first; I wanted to think it had something to do with cows, but no such luck; it's actually named for General Benjamin Mooers from the 1812 era. I visited then, but had not been back since. The outside is the same (I think), but the inside is totally changed from what I remember.

I like the sign outside, "Please contact librarian before donating books." I often see variations of this sign, and they always reminds me of the day I had to stack about 50 books, mostly inappropriate and mildewy, onto the bookdrop cart where I work. It's a laudable impulse, but ... well, you  know.

There is a media corner with chairs and a large TV. The book collection is limited, but the library is part of a consortium and inter-library loans are readily available. No overdue fines are charged, but there is a container for donations, and I understand that this may bring in more money than fines would. I saw another library recently with this policy; their collection container was labeled "The Conscience Jar."

The children's area is in the lower level. There is a YA section with beanbag chairs and some seating and tables for younger children. Again, the collections are limited but ILL is well used.

And I mustn't forget to mention a large mural of cats high on one wall. I'm an ailurophile, and the painting is well done.

For more information, go to

6/5/2013, car

174. Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont

There are two parts to the library, the old and the new. The new part houses the adult materials, deployed around a central area at least two stories high, with a wall of windows and a spacious reading area. There are media, periodicals, a microfilm reader, study tables, a local history room, and best of all: newspapers on sticks! One of my favorite jobs in my high school days as a library page was putting newspapers on sticks. Now, it's hard to explain what I'm talking about to anyone who hasn't seen these. Two floors of stacks are along one wall, fiction on the second level, non-fiction on the third.

The children's area is in the older building. It is as different as can be from the new building, but every bit as handsome in its way, with a very high ceiling, elaborate woodwork, and a fireplace. As I entered this area, I was intrigued to see a picture, obviously created by a child, captioned "Edmunds students are passing the books from the Fletcher to Memorial auditorium." I discovered that this referred to the time when the new building was built and books were moved to temporary storage by a "bucket brigade" method. Yankee ingenuity at work.

I like a sign on the librarian's desk "This is a No-Arguments Zone."

Two unique lending programs here are garden tools of all sorts, arrayed in a rack cleverly made of white picket fence sections, and tennis rackets! The tennis rackets are donated, repaired, and made available for those who wish to learn tennis without a big initial investment.

There is a courtesy phone in the lobby for local calls, courtesy of the library and the local phone company. Despite the ubiquity of cell phones, I think this is a great idea.

I could have spent much more time here, except for the one thing that is lacking: parking. I was at a meter a few blocks away, and so my time was limited.

For more information, go to

I may add to this post later, because I left some information out in the car and I'm out of steam!

6/5/2013, car

The new building can be seen in the background on the left.

173. Public Library, Dunbarton, New Hampshire

Two favorites before I even got inside: a garden area near the entrance with a sign "The Secret Garden" and some statues representing children's books; and a door mat with three cats and the legend "Please wipe your paws."

I have to cite this library for its attentive staff. The moment I was in the door I was greeted, and when I explained my mission, I was given a very thorough tour. The The upper level is one large meeting room with lots of potential. Of course, potential = money required, as always. There are a few old folding chairs, the kind that have three seats joined together; I haven't seen those for ages. Well, except at my sister's house!

The children's area has a mural of a castle and dragon brightening the walls, lots of stuffed animals, and a decent selection of books. The rest of the main floor houses sections of westerns, mysteries, graphic novels, media, and the fiction and non-fiction collections. There is a telescope available to check out. I especially liked a three-panel exhibit of photographs of "Your Neighborhood Library" in action.

Shortly after I arrived, a book discussion group was due to meet. I was invited to join them, and the refreshments were tempting, but I had not read the book and I was due to be on the road again in the morning, heading back to Minnesota, so I had to say no.

Here's an addition: I forgot to mention the local alphabet book I was given before I left. Individuals and families contributed pages, some art in various media, some photos, some words. A Dunbarton alphabet: artifacts, birches, Cooper's hawks, daffodils, egg, flowers, garter snake, hen keeping, icicles, jack-o-lantern, Kimball Pond, Lady's slipper, moose, nuthatch, Old Man of the Mountain, porcupine, quilt, rock walls, sap, tadpoles, unique, turkey Vulture, winter, X marks the spot (geographical center of New England is in Dunbarton), yellow finch, and ZIP code 03046.The whole is spiral bound in clear plastic covers; it was created in 2011, a wonderful community project.

Learn more at

6/4/2013, car


172. Goffstown Public Library, Goffstown, New Hampshire

This library was originally Memorial Library, built to honor those from the town who served in wars from the Revolution to the War of the Rebellion. Marble panels bearing the names of all who served cover the walls of one room.

I entered from the parking lot at the lowest level, which houses the children's area. There are several staff desks that are placed around the area, not clustered. Bundles of brochures for the summer reading program were ready for distribution; kids in NH don't get out of school until mid or late June, so the program won't start for a while yet. Two long low tables at right angles looked ready for programs, and I like the bright orange book shelves. Though this area is partly underground, high windows and good lighting dispelled any possibility of gloom. There is a good collection of E and J books, and I saw many book-and-audio bags.

I took the elevator to the main level (I never spotted any stairs) where I found the honor roll mentioned above. A teen area had flyers related to several book awards I am not familiar with, including the Isinglass 2012-2013 books, titles suggested by 7th and 8th graders, and the Flume nominees.

A friendly sign advises that if you "need to request an item or place a hold, ask the second floor staff." A rhyming sign I saw in the adult non-fiction area requests that you "Browse through our books./Oh the things you'll find!/But let us put them away;/It's our job, we don't mind." It adds "If you take a book off the shelf, please place it on the empty shelves below. Thanks."

This non-fiction room has something I know exists but I hadn't seen in my visits so far: a library ladder that hooks onto a rail above the shelves and rolls sideways to the place where it is needed. A sign advises that it is for the use of staff only....

I didn't visit the third floor, but I learned from staff and from the list in the elevator that it houses workrooms, a copier, newspapers, magazines, local history, oversized books, the reference desk, a conference room, and a study area. Staff on the first and second levels were friendly and helpful. I hope that if I've messed up any of the details here, they will leave a Comment so I can make corrections.

Learn more at

6/4/2013, car

171. Gordon Nash Library, New Hampton, New Hampshire

This library was provided to the town by Gordon Nash. The the library's catchphrase is and always has been "Free to all residents, students, or sojourners." The attractive original building has been enlarged without spoiling its appearance.

There are four public computers, a large-print corner, a table of books that are "A gift to us from Quest books," and best of all, a three-ring binder labeled "Library Humor Book" full of library-related cartoons! A note in the front asks patrons to accept it in the spirit intended; after all, a certain amount of library humor pokes gentle fun at patrons. The pages are in plastic sheet protectors, and I think every library should start a book like this.

A grandfather clock reminded me that I think there has been at least one such clock in every library I've visited in NH.

The children's area has a United States puzzle (every children's library should have one, in my opinion) and an old school chalkboard in a frame that turns in its wooden stand. Large sidewalk chalk is abundant, and I can imagine children "playing school" here. Art materials are available on a table for "passive programming" and the smallest books are kept in small bins on a low shelf.

Downstairs, a meeting room runs the width of the building. Glass-fronted bookcases run the length of one wall, probably the collection of the founder (I forgot to ask) and an exhibit of local art graces the opposite wall. There is a grand piano, and just off this room is a small kitchen.

There are several other rooms and alcoves, one housing a book sale and piles of magazines. A sign states that the magazines are free, and encourages visitors to "take a whole pile." So I took a year's worth of Saturday Evening Post, which I didn't even know was still published. After I look at them, they will go to the Friends' Bookstore in Minneapolis for further recycling.

The entrance to the library holds a colorful "book house" (see below) with a sign inviting one to "take a book, bring a book--or not."

Learn more at

6/4/2013, car, with Jean

170. Lincoln, New Hampshire, Public Library

This is a rather unusual and very attractive library. A framed letter from President Clinton offers congratulations on the opening of this building in 1997. The original Lincoln Library opened in 1905; a time capsule was placed in a glassed niche high on one wall, to be opened in 2105. The location will help future generations remember that there is a time capsule--and where it is.

Directly ahead when one enters is a space that looks like a very nice living room. There is a wide window, sofas and easy chairs, periodicals and newspapers, and a notice that an online subscription to the Wall Street Journal is available; get the login and password from staff.

An attractive meeting room is dedicated to the Friends of the Library. There are 5 (I think) computers and wi-fi is available. There is a $2.00 charge for non-residents to use the computers. Since this is a vacation area winter and summer, I think this is a reasonable policy in order to keep the computers from being overwhelmed by drop-in visitors. All computer users must sign "I have read the Acceptable Use Policy..." with full name, time of use, and computer number.

In the Reference Room and throughout the building walls hold art and old photos of the area. I spotted a large Agatha Christie collection and a display of new children's books provided by a Foundation. There are two telescopes, and it's here I figured out the situation with telescopes and New Hampshire libraries: the state Astronomy Society (I may have the name wrong, but you get the idea) is providing the telescopes in order to stimulate interest in astronomy. I learned that the Society would be giving a presentation soon, and after that the telescopes would be available to patrons. What a wonderful idea!

A teen area has a good selection of YA fiction, two tall tables with chairs, and some beanbag chairs.

In the children's area there is an electric typewriter (!) and a poster from Positive Promotions titled "8 ways to become a great reader." I like that poster a lot and will try to find it online. Books are designated JF and JNF; I don't think I've seen that before.

In a separate area for the preschool crowd there are nice wall murals based on "Where the Wild Things Are" and "The Giving Tree." There is a large collection of picture books, and book bags provided by The Polar Express "I Believe in Books" Literacy Foundation hold four books on a theme that circulate as a set. And there are two plush ponies, two dragons, and a unicorn, all big enough for a toddler to "ride." I chatted quite a while with friendly staff. This is a really nice community library.

Learn  more at

6/4/2013, car, with Jean

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

169. Moosilauke Public Libary, N. Woodstock, NH

This library shares a building with the town offices of North Woodstock, a town in the midst of the White Moutains of New Hampshire. I knew it would not be open on a Tuesday, but I was in the neighborhood and decided to take a look anyway.

On the outside of the library (which is inside the office building), there is a bookcase with books that I assume are free, since I saw no sign othewise. Peering in the windows I concluded that there are probably two public computers, and separate areas for adults and children. Notices say that one can download audio books. They are not acceptingbook donations at this time. The circulation desk has a container for "overdue book donations"--there are no set overdue fees.

Favorite sign? "Books: The Other Channel."

For more information, go to

6/4/2013, car, with Jean

Monday, June 3, 2013

168. Dimond Library, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

NOTE: This post has been amended to correct a wrong impression about the children's book collection; see Comments. The Blogger regrets the error.

I attended UNH in the late 70s, but I wouldn't have recognized the library. (OK, that was a long time ago.) And a disclaimer: I can't do justice to a university library, no matter how much time I have. Here are some impressions. Learn more at

I entered at the third, main, level. There were several quiet study rooms with tall windows, classic wood tables, chairs, and study lamps. The fourth floor housed part of the stacks, more reading rooms, graduate student carrells, and a cafe. Up on the fifth flour are more stacks, more reading rooms, faculty carrells behind a locked door, and a collection of award-winning children's books that are frequently used by education students. These books were perchased thanks to the generosity of an alumna.

Returning to the main floor, level 3, by a different staircase, I discovered a seminar room, the administrative area, and the Interlibrary Loan area. I also found a friendly librarian, Peter, and gave him one of my "cards" about this project. When I told him that I had come to this library because a) I had studied at UNH back in the 60s, and b) a friend's great-aunt had been the librarian here from 1942 to 1961, he held up a finger, thought for a moment, then produced her name, Thelma Brackett. Although he's a reference librarian, accustomed to producing information when needed--I was impressed!

For more information, go to

6/3/2013, car, with Mary, Victoria, Weston, and Barrett

167. Durham Town Library, Durham, NH

I should wait a few months for this one, but here goes. Durham, New Hampshire, home of the University of New Hampshire, is also the home of the first new library in New Hampshire in almost a century. Others have built new buildings, of course, changed their location, changed their name, but Durham has used the University library until now. Soon, they will have a handsome new building of their own, but for now they are in temporary quarters in a small mall. And today--they were closed.

I gleaned what I could from the outside: they offer babysitter training, there will be storytelling at a bonfire....  The book return box makes it clear that donations should not be left there. "Donations accepted inside during the last week of each month." A sign on a separate media return box says "No books in this box." If you've ever seen the results of a heavy travel book, let's say, landing on a CD in a plastic'll understand.

As we drove out of town, we passed the site of the new library, and I will be sure to get there the next time I'm in NH. It looks gorgeous. See for yourself at I left my usual note with the blog address in the book return box. If anyone at the Durham library sees this, don't be embarrassed by your storefront location. For one thing, it's temporary. And you can search this blog for "storefront" and see that you are in good company.

Added: After posting this, I had an email pointing out that "temporary" is something of a misnomer; the library has been in this location for a decade. I look forward to checking out the new site next year.

6/3/2013, car, with Mary, Victoria, Weston, Barrett

166. Exeter, NH, Public Library

This library is artfully tucked on a fairly steep hillside beside a river. Lower level parking leads into the children's area; on the upper level, a bridge takes you over the parking ramp into the main floor of the adult area.

Teens have a separate room with natural light from large windows, various types of seating, a couple of computers, games, and a good collection of YA books. This space is more restricted to teens than similar spaces in other libraries I've visited: a sign indicates that if you need to use material from this room, you must take it to another part of the library.

Also on this level are the browsing area with periodicals and newspapers, comfortable chairs, and large windows. The fiction stacks use a shelving system I haven't seen anywhere else, with duplicate copies of books shelved on the bottom shelf, spines up. As a library page, I pondered whether this would make the shelving job easier or harder, and decided I would get used to it.

The upper level is designated as quiet study space. It includes a locked study room (sign in and get key downstairs), book sale room, the science fiction and fantasy collection, including a section devoted to Star Wars, and the non-fiction collection. A small cart at the end of one row of bookshelves bears the sign "Staff will reshelve all books."

The children's area is on the lower level. An Open Art program is available on Mondays and Fridays from 11 to 4:30. A program room has six tables, there is a sign-in sheet, and various art materials are provided. Children may only participate with an adult.

Two signs that I have not seen before are "Shhh! After 3 PM children are studying" and "Please only three books on a subject." Both of these make sense to me. The librarian I spoke to pointed out that this is not a "hush" library--until the school kids come in. And it's not unusual in the library where I work for a patron to virtually clean out the books on a particular animal, historic event, whatever, when there are no limits. Of course, where I work we use self-checkout, so there is no way to place limits of this sort.

The preschool area has two wooden train sets on tables, a hamster, and a Russian tortoise. (I'm glad the tortoise had a label; I would have called it a turtle!)

For more information, go to

6/3/2013, walking (from the Academy), with Victoria

165. Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter NH

I've seen this library called The Class of 1945 Library, The Friends of the Academy Library, The Louis Kahn Library, and The Library at Philips Exeter Academy. By any name, it is amazing. It is reputed to have the largest collection of any secondary school worldwide. My short walk through a couple of levels certainly won't do it justice, but I'll list a few things I noticed and include more pictures than usual in these posts. If this whets your appetite, go to for the full story.

The central area of the library is dominated by a large oval table, a Harkness table, named for a former teacher who taught his classes--no more than about 12 students, I believe--at tables like this. The same teaching method is used today. See for pictures and more information. This central area also houses a very large card catalog, with a note that no additions have been made since July 1994; after that date, the catalog was computerized.

The library is built of a delightful combination of stone, wood, brick, and steel. Seniors have assigned study carrells built of wood, with locking compartments. [$50 if you fail to turn in your key at the end of the year!]

There was a display near the entrance describing a custom I really like: Senior Bookmarks. Seniors provide a list of about six books that they feel have been very important to them. Those books are listed on a very attractive book mark for each person, with a quotation at the top. The display included many of the books students have listed. Unfortunately, no bookmarks were available; as of noon today, they were two weeks late back from the printer...oops.

For more information, go to

6/3/2013, car, with Mary and Victoria

Saturday, June 1, 2013

164. Canaan, NH, Town library

The first thing to catch my eye in this library: the bookcases on the main floor. They are handsome wood construction, made locally, and of graduated sizes, from three shelves to five to six. This allows light to penetrate, give a "this isn't just anyplace" vibe, and aids in supervision and assistance by the library staff. See the picture below.

These bookshelves on the north side of the space hold the adult fiction collection. Along the south wall are music CDs, graphic novels, and the young adult collection. There is a space between with a very long table for browsing and shelves for the knitting needles and rubber stamps--yes, you can check them out! There are three computers, one of them "express" for 15 minutes or less. A couple of "Canadian rockers," a sort of gliding chair, attracted my niece and sister while I prowled around taking notes.

The far end of the space, where there was once a stage, is the children's area. It includes a rug that looks like a pond, and  a table and some chairs that have been transformed from plain wood to something special with attractive painting. The collection is not large, but the staff will get anything you need from wherever they can find it. How do I know this? Unlike all my other visits, this time I was accompanied by relatives, so I heard tales....

Speaking of tales, this is the only place I've seen where a tissue box, mirror, sign, and collection of blank booklets are displayed together. If you don't know that that is about, you need to read Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk and all will become clear.

Many libraries these days have large windows, but I haven't seen another one with attractive curtains: off-white with a light green floral design. Everything about this library says "The people who work here care about providing a friendly, attractive environment. [OK, that's true in just about every library I've visited, but it seems especially so here.]

I wanted to see the lower level to complete my tour. My older grandniece signed in for herself and two guests (her sister and me), a fire safety precaution since the lower level is unstaffed, and Nancy (staff) showed us how to operate the "lift," a sort of elevator. That was pretty cool; we decided it is a time machine! The lower level is bright with light fixtures and natural light from large ground-level windows. This level houses a modest non-fiction collection, a computer, at least one study table, and a bright corner with a "living room" ambience, where my two young companions made themselves comfortable while I looked around. I found card catalog drawers filled with actual cards; I didn't check too closely or ask, but my guess is that they are a relic of pre-computer days. The only sour note was a sign indicating that "Items have been disappearing from the library. Please keep an eye on your possessions."

My grandnieces are frequent library users, and I was impressed by how readily Nancy was able to anticipate what they might like to read. This kind of "reader's advisory" is exactly what one expects of library staff, but it is harder to provide in larger communities.

Check them out at to learn about Pass the Book, Basement Bookies, and more!

6/1/2013. car, with Andrea, Ella, Zoe, and Mary