I started my visits in Albany, Minnesota, which is on the Lake Wobegon Trail. The library shares a building with other town services, and is entered from a generic parking lot. But just go in and walk straight ahead, and you come to a large window wall that looks out on parkland and the trail. It's a startling and wonderful contrast.
There are a couple of couches where one can sit comfortably while browsing or reading the paper. In two places along the wall there are shelves wide enough for laptops, and there are chairs, but I didn't spot electrical outlets, so be sure your laptop is well charged!
A very interesting feature, around to the right when you enter, is a mural that is enhanced by 3-D features on top of a shelf. Most notable is a three-step ladder that appears to lead to a "porthole" in the mural. (I wish I'd taken a picture.) This reminded me of the ladder in the Wild Rumpus bookstore in Minneapolis. If you love children's books, you should visit that bookstore and ask what I'm talking about!
Something I hadn't seen before was two-tiered bins for picture books. Bins are common, and a very convenient way to shelf picture books. (Not so convenient if you are looking for books to fill requests, but no matter.) Until now, however, I've only seen the "bin above, shelf below" arrangement. I like the double-decker arrangement.
I learned that I had just missed a visit by 150 or so fourth, fifth, and sixth graders who had ridden bikes along the Lake Wobegon Trail from their school in Avon Lake. I believe that half the kids came to the library while half visited Dairy Queen, then they swapped places. What an invasion that must have been! I'm sorry I missed them, but of course, if they had been there, I would have missed a very nice chat with the staff. [I'm assuming, of course, that having such a large influx of kids would keep the staff very busy!]
For more about this library, visit http://www.griver.org/locations-and-hours/great-river-regional-library-Albany.
Enter from the parking lot...
...and discover what is on the other side of the building.The picture doesn't do justice to the view.