Thursday, September 26, 2013

201. Marshall-Lyon County Library, Marshall, MN

As a fan of public transportation, I was happy to see this sign as I entered: The MAT bus now stops at the library. First, I was pleased that Marshall has public transportation; second, of course, I was glad that the library is on its route.

There is a magazine exchange in the lobby, and a courtesy phone. This two-year-old building has a small separate room for a Friends bookstore. Material was sorted and shelved; I got two books and two recorded books on cassette (for listening in the car) for a total of $1.00! (They were on sale, these are not their regular prices!) A large red wagon outside the bookstore is used for donations, and there is a polite sign indicating what is not wanted--like old textbooks.

There is a technology classroom with 10 computers and a ceiling-mounted projector. Nearby, I enjoyed a collection of small posters with quotations about libraries and books, most of which were new to me.

Shelves from the old library were reused when this bulding was constructed, but they were spiced up with wooden ends with an incised design suggesting a branch with leaves. These are very attractive and the idea of "reuse with upgrade" appeals to my inner recycler. I noticed that part of the stacks are parallel to the wall while others are oriented like a fan, or spokes; this gives good sightlines from the service desk.

A window wall in the browsing area looks out at the middle school across the way, and a rack with dozens of bicycles; it is good to know that there are still places where bikes can take the place of buses or Mom's car, at least in good weather. A jigsaw puzzle was underway on one table. Newspapers are stapled together, a practice I've seen before but I don't know where; I do know it was a long time ago. A sign asks patrons to please leave them stapled together.

A handsome fireplace has this quotation from Winston Churchill: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life from what we give." This is apt, since the bookshelves beside the fireplace have many identically-bound books with donor names on the spines, along with a designation of the level of support: Philanthropist, Founder, Benefactor, Author, Patron, Sponsor, Reader. There is plenty of room for more of these recognitions. Classic titles are shelved adjacent to the fireplace; as a frequent shelver, I appreciated the fact that these have "Fireplace" on the spine as a reminder of where they should be shelved.

Public art includes etched glass panels mounted in front of the windows. Each one has a pattern of vertical and horizontal lines backing a drawing of a landmark from somewhere in the town or county. They are very attractive and unusual.

The Teen area has computers, four booths, soft chairs, and plenty of books. There are three study rooms nearby, and I also spotted what looks to me like a very modern microfilm and -fiche reader.

The chldren's area is a large room separated from the rest of the library by glass walls. I learned that this is intended to be the adult media space, as soon as an addition can be built. For now, it has an area for the youngest patrons and their parents, with books, toys, and a collection of parenting books. Plenty of picture books, and fiction and non-fiction for school-age chidlren. There is a delightful antique school bench and desk with a sloping top. Two computers are reserved for children age three through grade four, and two others for kids in grades three through six. For the latter two, a sign advises that the child must have his or her own library card and there is a one-hour limit.

I also had a chance to see the large staff workroom with several offices along the side. I can only hope that when the library where I work is remodeled, we get a workspace nearly as nice.

To learn more and see an interior picture, go to

9/25/2013, car

Great bike racks!

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