Saturday, August 3, 2013

188. Oregon, Wisconsin, Public Library

This library was established in 1910. A bulletin board in the lobby is dedicated to Village Postings, official notices about Oregon. A meeting room opens from the lobby; the room was made possible by a bequest to the Friends of the Library by Sue Ames, and the room is named for her.

I saw at least nine public computers and two labeled "Office Stations." There are several posters on the ends of shelves that are titled "Look Who's Reading" and have pictures of local figures; I saw the Director of a senior center and the Chief of Police, and there may have been others that I missed. I learned that these posters were part of the library's centennial celebration in 2010.

A genealogy section includes card catalog drawers of obituary files and a marriage index, plus a folder of cemetery locations.

The Teen area has windows, a booth, a couple of funky "butterfly" chairs, magazines, a high table with stools, and some neat graphics. In addition to young adult fiction, there is a small collection of non-fiction of special interest for teens, including some of the "Chicken Soup" books plus titles about growing up, college, and contemporary issues like drugs.

"Flags" sticking out of the fiction collection sometimes guide one to specific popular authors, like Robert Parker and Ruth Rendell, or provide reader guidance, like "If you like <this author> you might also like <these other authors>. A sign says that if you forgot your reading glasses, readers and magnifiers are available for use in the library; just ask. I've seen this offer one or two other places, and it seems very helpful and simple. One long wall has broad window alcoves with what I think of as "living room seating"--comfortable chairs and low tables, a very pleasant place to sit and read.

Areas of the library are clearly labeled with signs at the top of the walls. Here, the Children and Pre-School areas are separately labeled. Almost every library has both areas; this is the first place I recall seeing them marked this way. Juvenile non-fiction books are marked "C" for Child rather than the common "J" for juvenile. I haven't seen this before, and it seems both modern and respectful, since the word juvenile is so often followed by the word delinquent. The non-fiction shelves for children seem pretty high, but stepstools are available and use of the highest shelf allows oversized books to be stored flat on the bottom shelf. Everything is a trade-off when space is at a premium.

A Parenting collection is tucked in a corner with beanbag chairs, a tree mural, and some large nylon "leaves" (I've seen something like them at IKEA) hanging out from the wall. Nearby are some theme-based Parent Share CARE Packs, backpacks full of materials that can be borrowed. There is also a helpful 3-ring binder that shows both a list and a photo of the contents of each backpack. They look very thorough and interesting.

There are several computers for the youngest patrons. One is labeled "Bilingual Early Literacy Station." It was being used by two small children who were moving a "flashlight" around the screen to uncover graphics. I don't think they were learning any language, however, as there was no audio and they were not wearing headphones. There is a small collection of "world language" books for children, mostly Spanish.

Back in the central adult area, I spotted something brand-new to this library: a collection of cake pans for loan. Move over, Osage, Iowa--Oregon, Wisconsin is joining you in the cake pan business! As with the Parent Share backpacks, a notebook includes photos and descriptions of each available pan.

Books ready for shelving are placed on carts near their destination. The carts are labeled "I'm available," and indicate that items on the cart may be borrowed. One thing this accomplishes, according to the librarian I talked to, is that patrons seem to understand that this is not the place to leave books they have decided not to check out.

I learned from the librarian that the signs I admired were part of some remodeling done for the centennial. Another key part of the remodeling was a very handsome wooden Service Desk. It is made of donated wood from local trees, by a local craftsman, and with mosaic tile inlays designed by a library staff person--a wonderful example of a library truly belonging to its community!

For more information, and a really nice display of library pictures, go to Look at the logo on the homepage and at the picture below of the service desk.

8/2/2013, car


Part of the service desk. The picture doesn't do it justice; you really should go see for yourself.


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our library and for writing a nice review. Come back anytime!

  2. Alas, so many libraries, so little time! But if I find myself in the area again, I might stop in and try for a better picture of the woodwork! (And to see whatever else might have changed, of course.)


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