Friday, October 11, 2013

212. Two Harbors Public Library, Two Harbors MN

This library bills itself on its website as "The Little Library by the Big Lake." It's not so little, but it is definitely close to the big lake. And the original part of the building is a Carnegie library from 1909.

There are many ways to ask patrons to use cell phones respectfully, but this is the first library where I've seen a sign "Don't forget to Shhhh your phone!" I also saw "REMINDER! Please pad or rubber band dvds and cds when returning in the book drop to prevent separation and breakage." Good advice.

The newer building houses the teens' and children's areas. There are wide padded window sills in front of large sunny windows, and for the kids, an elaborate wooden train setup on a table; it even has a roundhouse! There is a "picnic table" made of birch, very nice. Apparently there has been some recent rearranging, and I was both pleased and amused to see a sign directing me to the new location for the books on CD. After telling me the new location, it says "Turn right, walk to the aisle, look straight ahead." I wonder if people follow the directions...or turn to staff and ask "Where are the books on CD?" Book and audio sets are shelved in a bin, rather than the usual hanging plastic bags, and a sticker on the cover of each book reminds the patron to "Check for CD."

Up the stairs into the Carnegie building, I found a staff person measuring the space above the mantle of the large fireplace. Holiday decorations coming, perhaps? A browsing area is in the fireplace room. Beyond that there are tall windows all around. A couple of study tables look as if they date to the original building, and a librarian confirmed this hunch. They are now protected with heavy glass tops.

Based on a sign, there seems to have been a recent change in fiction shelving, with all genres now shelved together with stickers designating mysteries, romances, sci fi, and western. Two exceptions I spotted: Star Wars and Danielle Steel seem to have their own special spots.

Back downstairs I saw this sign by the copy machine: "Copies are 10c a page--even for IRS forms." I can imagine the conversation(s) that prompted that sign!

The staff recommended Louise's and a couple of other places for lunch; I chose Louise's, and that was a very good bacon cheeseburger! I resisted the yummy-looking baked goods because I had other plans for dessert. Since I would be eating alone, I bought a book, The Report Card by Andrew Clements, from the library sale shelf. I got a good start on it while eating, and finished it last night. It's a wonderful condemnation, through kids' eyes, of the morass of testing our schools are in now.

For more about this library, go to or

10/10/2013, car


  1. A quick note - we did not choose to feature our Star Wars and Danielle Steel books, that was just a coincidence of alphabetizing. STA and STE just happened to fall right in the prime spot at the top of the stairs. Rather than move the shelves or do some "creative shelving" to feature literary masters on those prime shelves, we just smile and enjoy it. There's a place for every book...and I guess at the Two Harbors Public Library, our prime place is for Star Wars and Danielle Steel for now!

    Thanks for visiting our library, and for the lovely write-up!


    1. Ah, library serendipity, isn't it grand? I may have been influenced by the practice of the library where I work, where we shelve Star Wars books in their own section of sci-fi. And I gather that you shelve Star Wars by title/topic, not by the individual authors; we shelve by author within the Star Wars section. I've seen other libraries where they have their own area, too.

  2. See Exeter, NH, for another library with a special spot for Star Wars.


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