When I started these library visits in the summer of 2012, a librarian in Stillwater, MN, told me that I must visit the library in Verona, Wisconsin. So I made a mental note to plan a trip to this area, and one year later I made it. She was right--this is a must-see library, built in 2006. It also has a perfect, if dated, address for a library: Silent Street.
The lobby has a courtesy phone for short local calls, a very helpful option even in these days of ubiquitous cell phones. There is also a shelf of Friends of the Library books for sale, and a photocopier that can make copies from a flash drive.
Just inside the library are two handsome V-shaped (as seen from above) shelf units used to showcase new books.
Teen Central is set off by lowered ceiling grids and subdued lighting, windows, and varied seating options.
The main part of the library has soaring ceilings with tall windows that look out mostly on trees and prairie. Several seating areas take advantage of this design; they look inviting and comfortable. The building is strongly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's ideas, with wide eaves, high windows, stained glass on the doors to a browsing room with easy chairs and a fireplace.
In one of the seating areas, a mixed-media fabric art display was highlighted, with some very impressive work. Another display honored the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, an occasion that is not often noted.
A computer lab has 16 computers, and a hand sanitizer dispenser at the door--nice touch. Two study rooms for up to four people and one larger study room require reservations. A local history area has volumes of obituaries and a sign directing patrons to a web site for historic pictures of the area. There are two unusual triangular study tables tucked into a corner. I was amused by a sign on a catalog computer tucked away in the non-fiction section: "Wiggle mouse to wake up computer." It's true, a computer without a screen saver does look off, and it's good to know that you only have to nudge it.
The children's area is entered between two castle towers, and the castle itself dominates the center of the space. Each interior corner of the castle has a cushioned seat for cozy reading. Two of these seats were occupied by parent-child pairs, making the angle for the picture below a challenge. Paper mache figures on shelves and hanging from the ceiling were made by local school children. There are lots of books in Spanish and a few in other languages. A flat light box captured the attention of several children who were studying insects and plants laminated in clear plastic.
The littlest patrons have a small climbing block with a slide, a roads-and-vehicles activity table, and an impressive dragon guarding the bin of board books.
The program room has a large carpeted area, a handsome puppet theater, and a tiled area along one wall with a counter and a couple dozen small stools creating a space for messy projects. It also has a large storage room with enviable work space for the librarian. As you'll see in the picture below, shelf tops are used to place many books with their covers temptingly displayed. One area featured science-related books, something I'm always glad to see. A large poster explained the Five Finger Rule for selecting a "just right" book.
Marge at La Crosse had asked me to say hello to Meghan, and I was happily able to do that. Then Meghan convinced me that I could not leave the area without visiting the new library at nearby Fitchburg. Since it fit into my schedule (just barely), that's where I headed next.
For more information, go to http://www.veronapubliclibrary.org/.