A visitor to the Fergus Falls Public Library is greeted by large, round planters maintained by the Fergus Falls Garden Club. The book drop bear the notice "No Donations"--I hope that works for them, since one book drop problem in my experience is the non-library book that might be a donation, or might be a patron error. The lobby has a courtesy phone--and a phone book! Just inside the door a sign invites patrons to "Try our new self-checkout." I hope the implementation is going well.
A case of stuffed birds, the backyard kind, not exotics, looked as if it may have come to this building from an earlier library. Nearby, padded benches are near a display of new books; what a nice idea, to have a place to "perch" for a few moments and browse the possibilities.
The children's area has a bright wall of windows, a low table with wooden trains and other toys, and a "kitchen" where a young girl was very absorbed in her play. A mural on brown paper, with grass and flowers at the top, had dark tunnels painted on...or were they cut from black paper? I don't recall. I expect that this is left from the "Dig Into Reading" summer program and is on its way out. There are tables and chairs in two sizes, a nice touch. A collection of themed storytime kits in blue tote bags bear tags saying that they are in memory of Heidi Helland, a wonderful memorial. The kits are also credited to the Lions Club, Friends of the Library, Walmart, the West Central Initiative, a family and a day care center; this is a wonderful show of community support for children and the library.
In the area for older kids there are two computers. One was out of order when I visited, and I chuckled to see the sign that read "We blame Voldemort." It's in this area that I first noticed sticky notes on the top of bookshelf sections, each note with a couple of dates. My hunch, checked with a librarian, was correct: these indicate shelf reading dates. Shelf reading is done by volunteers, including members of the Friends. I expressed concern about people's ability to read shelves accurately and the librarian suggested an online training program from Stanford. I haven't found exactly what she described, but online training is definitely available; google "library shelf reading training" for possibilities.
Teen books, carrels, and seating are in the middle of the library. A poster headed "If you liked The Hunger Games" suggests lots of similar books.
A browsing area with periodicals and newspapers is located by broad windows. A gentle sign asks that patrons "Please make copies of what you need...other people may want to look at the same article later."
The walls here are full of framed art prints, and more print rest on the floor in a couple of places. Up to three prints may be borrowed at a time. I haven't seen a library lending art (so far as I know) since the early days of the Arden Hills library in Ramsey County.
Biographies are shelved together under 920 and 921, a policy I happen to like. Genre fiction (westerns, mysteries) are shelved next to general fiction; romance novels are only paperback, and they are on spinners near the front of the library. I didn't spot any sci-fi, but it must be here somewhere. Signs on the shelf ends suggest that patrons try goodreads.com and bookriot.com for reading suggestions. I spotted large print books, movie, TV, and non-fiction DVDs, and a few graphic novels. A suggestion box next to the graphic novels asked what books patrons would like to see added, a nice touch.
There are at least six public computers plus two express computers (10 minute limit). There are three study rooms.
For more info, go to http://www.viking.lib.mn.us/libraries/fergusfalls.html or https://www.facebook.com/#!/FFFOL.