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 http://www.sppl.org/about/locations/hamline-midway.
6/27/2013, car (but only because I was out doing other errands; can be done by bus)