I entered at what appears to be a middle level, where I found a large mural of a prairie scene, a magazine exchange, a courtesy phone, at least 10 computers, the service desk, and...something new...life jackets to check out!
Heading upstairs first, I found that the YA area is in the process of being moved. What I think is the new area is near a window wall and has some sofas and chairs that are comfy enough for a teen-age napper, judging from the teenage boy who appeared to be napping in a chair. Also on this level are the non-fiction collection and a couple of catalog computers. There are lots of study carrels around the perimeter.
The Friends of the Library have an attractive membership tree, a quilted tree with members' names added on paper "leaves." Nice idea.
On the lower level I saw a poster about a "Mono-Mouse-RM Magnifier" available through a trial program; this was near the Large-Type collection. I googled this, and got only ads, so I'll leave it to you to follow my footsteps, if you are interested.
The fiction collection and at least 24 Book Club in a Bag sets are on this level. The window wall faces the street, but there is a nice "living room" area plus various tables and chairs for browsers.
The children's area is in the other side of the building, reminiscent of the layout in Albert Lea. "Do not leave young children in the children's room without supervision. Library staff are NOT day care providers. If caregiver or parent cannot be found, the police department will be called. Children's safety is our primary concern." This sign is important, I think, because the children's area is so separate from the rest of the library. If a parent left a kid here and went off to do some research on a computer, say, there could be real problems.
A computer for kids to use is near the entrance. Beside it on a table are two iPads as well. There is no outside view, but many large, high windows make the space light and bright. I noticed that novelty and pop-up books may be enjoyed at the library but do not circulate. I expect that extends their lives significantly! There are many bins and low shelves of picture books.
The other end of the kids' space holds Junior fiction and non-fiction, lots of VHS and DVD movies, and notebooks with Accelerated Reader lists for two elementary schools. I'm not an AR fan, but if the schools are using that program, it's good that the library is participating in this way.
For more information, go to http://www.newulmlibrary.org/