Friday, August 2, 2013

186. Matheson Memorial Library, Elkhorn, Wisconsin

I think my gps was playing games with me, because I seemed to be driving for miles in the wilderness, until I was thinking that NO WAY was I headed for a town large enough to support an ice cream place and two bakeries (so I had heard). Suddenly, that's exactly where I was, not just in a large town but the county seat as well. And there was indeed a library. [Of course there was a library. Have I mentioned that there are more public libraries than McD's in the US of A? True.]

I had a good look at three sides of the building before I got inside, since the visibility of the entrance varies with the angle of approach. The lobby is large and houses the entrance to a community meeting room, a baby grand piano, and an overflowing collection box for school supplies. Entering the library proper, I noted a certain something about the lighting. It seemed sort of dim, not in a dark way but in a quiet and calming way. I don't know how they do that, but it's nice.

There are four easy chairs arranged around a table, an immediate invitation to sit and chat quietly or read. And there are other chairs throughout the library that are very eye-catching: they are the objects of a silent auction for "chair-ity." Bids were posted by each chair, and I'll hazard a guess that they will bring in a nice sum when the auction ends on August 9.

A browsing area with easy chairs, a fireplace, and periodicals looks like a welcoming living room.

After reading "We will gladly help you reach materials on the top shelf," I looked around and realized that I didn't see any of the ubiquitous library stepstools. One less thing to trip over or run a book cart into. There are many wooden study tables, and some of the chairs have the quasi rockers that allow a person to "tip" to a couple of different positions. I like them.

In the children's area there are tables and chairs in bright colors and assorted sizes. The local Lego club must be very active, judging by the number of models on display. A boy, maybe 7 years old, was looking at the models, and I asked whether he had made one of them. No, he had only been to one Lego club meeting. But he does like to build with Legos and wishes his mother would bring him more often. We noticed one "model" that was either broken or very haphazard, and my young companion suggested that "Maybe a mom held up a baby and it broke it. Babies are very strong, you know!" [I didn't see any adult with him, and I suppose he shouldn't have been talking to a stranger.]

A hamster cage on the librarian's desk bears the sign "Please do not remove top. Hammie is a looking friend, not a touching friend." Neat way to  explain it! A nearby poster intrigued me: "Who will be the queen of summer reading? Sign up and read for your school." There were three names, with scores beneath them. Elementary school principals?

An upper level in part of the library houses the B.J. Downing Technology Center, a teen area, and the reference and non-fiction collections. The sign by the teen area says "Adults and tweens may look for materials but leave tables and seating for teens." While I was reading the sign, the only kid in the room (a teen) gave me a look that led me to believe that, more than in many other libraries, this really is teen space.

I was at this particular library because the Children's Librarian, Jennifer, responded to an earlier post about libraries and ice cream, telling me that the Elkhorn library has an ice cream place right across the street. Indeed it does. Jennifer wasn't working when I visited, but I took her advice and had a very tasty cone; I recommend the flavor called "candy bar." I walked around the large, pleasant town square while eating it. A very nice visit.

For more information, go to

8/1/2013, car

Yes, there is ice cream in Elkhorn!


  1. Awww, I missed you! Glad you liked the library!

  2. Oh, and the Queen of Summer Reading competition is the three elementary school librarians - they are super involved and give all summer reading participants prizes when they get back to school in the fall!

  3. You are very lucky to have three elementary school librarians. Probably the reason I thought "principal" rather than "librarian" is that the school where I volunteer let a highly qualified librarian go a couple of years ago. With an aide in charge now, it stays very neat--because circulation is very slight. And nobody is teaching the kids library skills.

  4. And I'm sorry I missed you! If you had been around, I would have offered to treat to ice cream, if you could take a break.


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