The first time I visited here, last summer, I was in a rush...the bus I rode out on would sit in the nearby turn-around spot for just about 1/2 hour, and I really wanted to be on it for the return trip. Today, I made sure I had plenty of time. I was out here today because I read mysteries while riding buses, and I very much needed the next one in a series, which was available here. I had called the night before to be sure, and to have it set aside for me. So I was on a dual mission: get my book, and give this library its due.
I'm always intrigued by signs, and I saw one here before I even went inside. It was on the book drop, and it said "Caution, moving conveyor, do not put hands inside bookdrop." I hadn't seen that one before; the bookdrop inside the library, which I believe also has a conveyor, does not have this warning.
A meeting room off the lobby was full of bookcarts labeled "Reclassification Project." Seeing those reminded me that the Hennepin County and Minneapolis library systems merged a while back. Since the 70s, Minneapolis has used LOC, though they still have some older books with DDS in the stacks. The Hennepin County branches used DDS. Henceforth, all branches will use LOC. I talked a bit to a library staffer about this, and he said that the process has gone quite smoothly; there is a team that comes in, knows just what to do, and gets it done with dispatch. Sounds good!
A sign in the children's area makes me think that another change has been made, perhaps as part of the same project: "Children's Nonfiction books are now interfiled with Adult Nonfiction. Librarians at the information desk are happy to assist you." The chldren's area is fairly apart from the rest of the library, sort of around a corner. It extends along the side of the building, ending in a program room, The Chrysalis Room," with handsome stained glass windows that are up high, out of harm's way. There are three computers and a CD/tape player for elementary kids, three other computers for the preschool crowd. I like the colorful wooden chairs and tables. A notebook of Read-Write-Draw pages from the summer reading program is filling quickly.
Some STEM-based passive programming was evident at a table with magnets and assorted material to try them on, including a couple of sealed containers of iron filings. A sign on the wall provided ideas for parents and older children, and reminded parents that "When you use words like 'repel' and 'attract' I am learning science vocabulary." I like to find these reminders to parents that "play = learning"--especially if the parent helps out.
This is one of the few libraries where I have noticed carts of books ready for shelving, waiting at the ends of rows. Each cart I saw had a sign saying "Ready to Shelve." Perhaps these signs keep patrons from randomly moving books around that have been placed in shelving order. Perhaps.
Beyond the kids' program room is a teen area with comfortable chairs, several computers, and a wall of windows. Windows continue down the right side of the building area, with study tables and comfortable seating for browsers. There is also a handsome fireplace. Fiction and non-fiction shelves are abundant. Along the left wall are a conference room, study rooms, and a windowed alcove; the alcove seems to provide access to an emergency exit. I noticed that study rooms can be reserved on line, in two-hour intervals, once a week.
A sign by the car repair books in nonfiction says, "Repairing your car or truck? AllData Online is now available at all Hennepin County Libraries." This makes it unnecessary to keep shelves of large, floppy repair manuals. [Over in St. Paul, there is a library that prides itself on its paper copies of manuals, although the online resources are also available.]
It appears that biographies and travel books have their own areas, although they have LOC designations. There are a dozen adult computers in the middle area, along with a collection of music CDs. It intrigued me that I didn't spot DVDs until I was about to leave. In many libraries these days, media seems to be front and center, even upstaging books. Sometimes this seems to be done to prevent loss: keep the DVDs where you can keep an eye on them. Here, they are visible but not conspicuous.
The service desk is a single low, curved counter, allowing staff to sit. Library cards and circulation issues are at the left, librarian services to the right. I had a nice chat with one staff person who suggested that I add Elk Rapids, MI, to my list of "must visit" libraries.
On my way out I noticed one very nice feature, a courtesy phone for local calls (3 minute limit), and one not so nice, cubicle latches in the women's restroom that do not work very well. Kudos for the first, perhaps the second should be fixed? There was also a notebook with pages in page protectors, showing the work of the Friends of the Library. There's an idea for other groups: recruit by showing what you do.
For more information, and to learn about the art throughout the library, start here: http://www.hclib.org/AgenciesAction.cfm?agency=Ed.
7/10/2013, bus, train, walking