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


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit, Ella and Zoe loved showing you "their" library....Andrea

  2. Thanks so much for visiting our library! We do love helping all our patrons and are so lucky to get the chance!
    Library Director
    Canaan Town Library


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