This library is a split-level, up for adults and down for children, and the lobby greets you with an elevator and the "Friends Permanent Book Sale." A Friends booksale in the lobby is not unusual, but a sign inviting patrons to "Leave donations here by the shelf" is; don't you end up with boxes of 20-year-old textbooks? Or are Delavanians more considerate than that?
Up in the adult area, I noticed a cozy chair by a fireplace, with a gentleman deep in the daily paper, looking as comfy as if he were in his own living room. Near him were two book displays which were interesting neighbors: Frank Lloyd Wright in one display, "Books that Bite" (vampires) in the other. Close by was a display about the Ice Age National Scenic Trail Alliance, which I had never heard of. I took a copy of the card that lists features along the trail and gives the web address of the Alliance. Scuppermong Springs, eh? I may have to look into that.
In the media and periodicals section there are frequent signs reminding patrons that "Unlawful removal of library material is a criminal act" and citing the specific Delavan Municipal Code. When I see signs like this, I always hope that they were posted to address a specific past problem. I recently read a book about library policies, "It Comes with the Territory." One issue it addressed was whether to make such policies public, as Delavan has done, or not. However you feel about that, I don't think I've seen signs specifically about theft, vandalism, etc., in more than 20% of the libraries I've visited.
There is a Teen Corner with neat posters urging one to "READ: Feed your mind." There are summer reading programs for adults and teens, and of course for children. And with that, down the stairs I go. At the foot of the stairs there is a huge display of Indian arrowheads and stone tools. This is the John R. Topping collection. Labels indicate that all or most were collected in this part of Wisconsin; interesting historical information is given about the development and spread of native people in this area.
There is a pay phone (50 cents for local calls). Sadly, there is another sign of trouble: the Friends are offering a financial reward for information about recent bathroom vandalism.
The children's area is another world. The walls are painted in vivid colors; I was told that the children's librarian made the choices, and she did a wizard job of it! Although the space is partially underground, it is well-lighted by windows that start about four feet above the floor and extend to the ceiling. There is a large chalk board, toys are available for the youngest patrons, and an eclectic collection of furniture provides reading and relaxing space for all. The summer reading program here, as in so many other places this year, is Dig Into Reading.This can be interpreted in various ways; here, uniquely, there is a worm composting bin! A sign invites you to ask the librarian to show you; I didn't.
I did talk to the children's librarian for a while, however, and found her to be a pleasant and dynamic as the colors she chose for the walls! In the second picture below you can see a small corner of the white tent erected in front of the library to accommodate the large and lively summer programs that overflow the interior space.
I ended my visit back upstairs, where I chatted with two other librarians, and to support the Friends I bought a T-shirt that says "Novel Destinations." I plan to wear it to work tomorrow, in violation of the "no words on clothing" policy. Hey, it's a library shirt, right?
For more information, go to http://www.delavan.lib.wi.us/.