A sign of how this project is evolving: I visited Westonka in July 2012 and again today. I just looked at my entry from last year, and my notes from this year, and this will be a totally different entry. Not that what was there last year is gone, but that what I see now is different.
From the lobby, I peeked into a multi-purpose meeting room with indications that it is used for programs for both kids and adults. It seems to me that libraries where the meeting room is separate from the library proper have a lot of flexibility, in that they can hold programs when the library is not open.
I headed for the kids' area first, and found a bright corner for the littlest patrons. There is a toy stove, lots of play food, a dishrack of toy dishes, dress-up clothes in a chest, and a full-length mirror. There must be times when this area is very lively! There is a bookcase full of board books and bin after bin of non-fiction and fiction picture books. A wooden structure, perhaps a barn, held dinosaurs and "community helper" figures when I was there--I'm sure that it changes often. The area is lightened by a long window wall--see windows to the left of the tree in the picture below.
Libraries are in the forefront of the effort to increase early childhood literacy, and I was glad to see reminders to parents of how play activities contribute to literacy. In addition to posters and brochures on the subject, one great example was a supply of half-sheets of paper with a very simple maze: help the stegasaurus find the strawberries--and a note to parents at the bottom of the page: "When I have fun with mazes, I am also practicing how to control a pencil. This will help me when I start writing letters and words on my own."
A sign by the juvenile fiction books asked kids to "Please check out some of these books today!" This reminded me of the "Pick Me!" book display that I saw in St. Cloud, MN, last summer.
The adults also get a long window wall with seating for browsing and study. All non-fiction is shelved together, except for picture books. In the genre fiction area I saw a sign by the Westerns: "Readers Advisory: Search the catalog by author, series, or subject heading WESTERN STORIES." This struck me as a helpful nudge to patrons looking for "more of these." They can always ask a librarian, of course, but this gives a bit of independence for those who want to search on their own but aren't sure how to start.
I believe there are at least eight public computers, plus six in the children's area and four in the teen corner, plus catalog (non-Internet) computers.
I had finished a HCL book on the bus ride and wanted to return it. When I asked about the book return, I had to laugh: it's at the end of the counter in exactly the same relative location as the book return where I work, and has a sign in the same place, about 8 feet up in the air! "Clear Only If Known" as a co-worker used to say.
I had a pleasant chat with the library staff who were at the desk. It was very nice to have one of them ask "Are you the one who has the blog "Every Library I Can?" Wow, she even knows the name of the blog! My heart was warmed.
For more information, go to http://www.hclib.org/AgenciesAction.cfm?agency=Wt.
6/25/2013, bus to the end of the line, then a bit of walking