Monday, June 3, 2013

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

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