Tuesday, July 16, 2013

70a. Hennepin County, Ridgedale Library -- Revisit

As was the case last year, I feel that kids have learning opportunities from the moment they start up the stairs: "Can you count to 30?" A number is posted on each step, 1 to 30 going up, 30 to 1 going down. A message to parents points out that counting up is preparation for addition, counting down is prep for subtraction. Interactive questions and materials abound. There is a "pond" laminated to the floor with a "wooden dock" out into it. A toddler was on the "dock" when I was there, looking closely at the pond life while carefully avoiding the "edges." Something not seen before: a scale beside the self-checkout in the kids' area, with a sign "How much do your books weigh?" Nobody was checking out while I looked, but I would think this would be irresistable. [I've mentioned this to adults at a couple of other libraries; for them it is very resistable.]

Adults are encouraged to learn, too. There is a vocabulary word with its definition on the end of each non-fiction shelf. Inveterate, soupcon, obstreperous, chthonic, quincunx -- they were all what I consider "SAT words." Very cool. A window wall along the non-fiction area looks out into the treetops in a park-like yard with a patio.

There is a glassed in office backing up the reference desk; it looks as if these staff workstations are used for reference phone calls. There are more than 20 computers in labs, and a patron can sign up for "computer lab" or "computer lab with scanner." An area where laptops can be plugged in is bright and cheerful under a skylight. There are at least four small study rooms for one or two people. (I say "at least" because I kept finding surprises!) The non-fiction area is lined with study carrels along a window wall. I spotted three microfilm/fiche readers and one magnifier for low-vision patrons.

There is a very attractive display of "altered books," each framed and ribboned. The browsing area by one corner is surrounded by window walls on two sides. There are many periodicals displayed, but some periodical shelves are empty; I wonder if this presages a move to Zineo or something similar?

Non-fiction DVDs are on their own shelves with labels like "musicals," "nature," and so forth. They appear to be labeled by topic, not LC.

In the adult fiction section, newsletters from Uncle Hugo's Mystery Bookstore are available on the Mystery shelves. Where the non-fiction shelves have vocabulary words, fiction shelves display artistic black and white photos of books.

The teen area was occupied by a number of teens (not often seen, in my experience, during these visits). Teens have six computers, lots of teen magazines and graphic novels, and bins of comic books. YA non-fiction books are shelved separately. I didn't look closely to see whether these are topics of particular inteerst to teens.

This is only the second, and by far the largest, library where a parent can get a diaper from the children's librarian; this is a sensible and potentially very helpful service. Entering the children's area I saw "Explore Science" stations about X-rays, magnets, and bugs. A "farmers' market" is near a sign saying "The Together Project: Play matters." Indeed it does, and it's very good to see this acknowledged. The media corner has plastic and wooden dishes and toys for play, and a sign, "Pick up after play to earn a sticker." I have mixed feelings there; rewards like stickers have been shown to be ineffective as motivators in the long run, but librarians need spaces kept tidy. Would "Please clean up after yourself" not work as well?

A long, low table in an alcove provides space for linking road segments, vehicles, and buildings. "When we play and talk together, you are teaching me all about my world."

The Friends have a self-contained bookstore in the lobby near the Dunn Bros. coffee shop. A very nice volunteer was staffing it when I was there. [Of course, all library volunteers, friends or not, are very nice, and invaluable.]

When I visited last summer I mentioned that the westbound bus stops directly across from the library, about equidistant between two traffic lights. It would be a good safety feature if a "zebra stripe" crosswalk were painted, and a "Yield to Pedestrians" sign displayed. No change this year. Eastbound, of course, is not problem, as the bus stops on the same side of the street as the library.

7/15/2013, bus

Sorry, no new picture.

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