Saturday, October 26, 2013
90a. Rockford Road Branch, Hennepin County Libraries, Crystal, MN--Revisit
I returned to this library because they recently reopened after renovations. The first thing I noticed was the attractive and interesting ceiling, with open rafters made of wood and metal. Of course, when I talked to the librarian, I learned that this was not a change from last year! Some things that have changed include the placement of the service and information desks. I liked the visible workroom, but had the impression that perhaps staff doesn't find this so desirable. I'm probably influenced by the fact that where I work, the circulation workroom isn't even on the same floor. A "right there" workroom looks pretty good to me.
There are many windows, and some look out on a large park-like lawn with mature trees. Very nice. Two "living rooms" are by these windows, and there is a third right in the middle of the library. Teens have their own corner. There is a large alcove, more like a room, really, for reference materials, newspapers, and periodicals, plus a long counter with stools and electrical outlets for laptop users. I counted about two dozen public computers, and I overheard someone on staff telling a patron that there are "about the same number" as there were before the renovation.
The children's area has a science table, which today had two large magnifying lenses and a collection of insects embedded in plastic blocks. A sign suggests that parents explore science together with their children, and says that "When I use a magnifying glass, I am learning to use a science tool." There is also a light table, with neat wooden blocks with colored acrylic panels. There is a fire engine reading spot, similar to the one at Mounds View; this one also has a rack with several firefighter coats and hats for dramatic play. This is an interesting contrast, with one library stressing books about firefighting, the other stressing dramatic play. Both, of course, are worthy goals, and either space could be used for either purpose; it's just a matter of emphasis.
I saw 10 computers in the kids area, as well as couches, large plastic tubs of board books, and a Farmer's Market structure with many plastic fruits and vegatables--more opportunities for creative play. I almost missed the piece de resistance, a floor to ceiling beanstalk complete with Jack and part of the giant up at the top. Children's series books are shelved in baskets placed on the fiction shelves where they belong alphabetically by author's name.
A big activity cube is outside the kids area, near the self-checkout stations. This puzzled me for a moment, then I realized what a help it could be in occupying kids while the adult checked out. The library has a uniformed security officer, which surprised me because the local police station is next door, just across the parking lot. The lobby displays a transit map and also provides a bin for recycling batteries.
For more about this library, go to http://www.hclib.org/AgenciesAction.cfm?agency=RR.