Here is another library that has had a recent facelife. There are no changes (that I am aware of) on the outside, but inside, oh my! I had some St. Paul books with me, so I had a chance to try the new book return. On the downside (in my opinion), books must be put in the return slot one at a time, and you have to scan the bar code. On the upside, and this can be very important, you have the option to get a receipt for books returned. Such a receipt could eliminate a lot of the difficult conversations that circulation staff can be involved it.
The service and reference desks have been combined into one, freeing space for one of the "living room" configurations I always enjoy seeing. There is a computer lab that is used for instruction and help with job applications, resumes, email, Office applications, and typing, as well as for Open Lab four days a week. There are four study rooms for one or two people, and a roomy laptop counter allows laptop users to spread out. I counted about 18 computers; five are near the kids' area, and two of those are designated as "family" computers. I forgot to ask whether that means Internet filters, or is simply a matter of priority.
The teen area is still in the corner with the attractive stained glass sections of the windows. Toddlers have a greatly expanded space directly across from the service desk. I estimate that it's about 10' x 20', with a magnetic white board on the long wall. There are interactive toys, a couple of tables with chairs, a dollhouse, and a computer. Large pencil drawings and stories created by students at the Washington Technology Magnet School are on one wall in the kids area. I was pleased to see that the stories were well-written and had been carefully edited before being displayed.
There are a lot of easy readers and series books, as well as several J fiction shelves; poetry and fairy tales have their own locations. [All non-fiction books are shelved together.] A bin labeled "Let us put it back for you" is in a central location. A world language collection includes material in Vietnamese, Hmong, and Spanish, as well as book and audio sets for learning various languages, including English. Talking books are available on cassette and CD.
Staff are friendly, and gave me a lot of information about the recent changes. When I visited, tables staffed by volunteers were dedicated to rocks, minerals, and fossils. Off the lobby, there is a large meeting room that can be divided into two rooms. In the picture below, the windows on the near corner of the library allow a view of two painted "Snoopy" statues from a city-wide project some years ago.
For more about this library, go to http://www.sppl.org/about/locations/rice-street. Once there, click on "Collectors Corner Neighborhood Trading Place" to see what the rocks, minerals, and fossils were doing in the lobby! Also note that the site includes a map and information about bus routes!
11/3/13, car (I could have taken a bus, but I was on my way to work.)