Saturday, July 13, 2013

2a. Washington County, Hardwood Creek Branch, Forest Lake, MN

This library shares a building with the town offices. This adds a large lobby, a fenced park area, and a snack room with vending machines--nice features to have nearby.

I think I would like to work in the round entry space which houses requests, new books, self-checkout stations, and a round circulation service desk. It feels nice, and the friendly person at that desk added to the good feeling.

The library space is very long and relatively narrow. On the right as you enter there is a ramp that runs most of the length of the building and leads to a reading loft with varied seating, some plants, and windows on two sides with a view to the nearby wetlands. The ramp overlooks the children's area on the right and the adult area on the left. There are about 16 public computers, and the ubiquitous carts with books for sale.

The adult area is anchored on the near end by a space for teens that features a funky window (see picture below), two round booths, and a neon sign. On the far end is a browsing area with big windows, a fireplace, upholstered chairs. Between these ends are the genre and general fiction collections and the non-fiction. All non-fiction is shelved together, which seems to be an increasingly common practice--and one that I support.

Passing under the high end of the ramp, one enters the children's area, which runs back the full length of the building. A program room is to the left. It has a restroom, storage space for materials, and windows that look out to the natural area surrounding the building. Walking the length of the space you pass three long rows of "Easy" bins and shelves, assorted small tables and chairs, and finally the children's fiction collection. Recessed areas under the ramp house low windows to the adult area, cubbies for bookclub-in-a-bag kits, and book/CD kits. Between the preschool and older kids' areas are two sand tables with clear covers, and magnets that can be used to move vehicles through the sand; fun!

My favorite bit of "passive programming" involved a shelf by the entrance to the children's area holding a stack of paper and a set of books about paper airplanes. The activity suggestion: take a sheet of paper and an instruction book, make a paper airplane...then see how far it will fly off the reading loft above! It was quiet when I was there, but there must be times when this gets very lively!

7/13/2013, car

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There are nice places to walk around this library, and I set off for a meander after my visit. To my surprise, the walk prompted memories of the book I was listening to in my car last summer when I made a visit here, a John Sandford book about a horrendous fire. Memory is strange, indeed.

That tilted window below is in the teen area.

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