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 http://www.chippewafallslibrary.org/.
car, 6/28/2013 with NJ