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 http://www.anoka.lib.mn.us/about/locations/acl-mississippi or http://fridley.patch.com/listings/anoka-county-library-mississippi-branch.