For a moment when I walked into the lobby here, I thought I had been here before. No, I was thinking of a library in (I think) SELCO (southeastern MN). The similarity is an open lobby with a window wall straight ahead and with an open staircase to the lower level. Here in Melrose, the police department is on that lower level, perhaps wasting the view of the park and lake--assuming that the police spend most of their time out chasing bad guys, not looking out windows. But I digress...
Even before I entered the library proper, I knew that Melrose was the proud home of an Olympian. I had missed the billboard out on the highway (the librarian told me about it), but I saw a display of articles in a case by the door. Take a look or give a listen at http://wjon.com/smock-coming-home-to-melrose-before-olympics-audio/ to learn about this local hero, Amanda Smock, and her 2012 Olympic performance.
Immediately inside the library a table with assorted science gear (Geiger counter, weighing balance, lenses, rocks and minerals...) reminded me that this summer's reading program theme is science. I think that focusing summer reading programs on science is a brilliant idea, by the way.
There is a play area for little kids that includes the typical dollhouses, play kitchens, and Duplo blocks, but also the very un-typical car than can be driven by paddling ones feet along the floor. Do they actually get to ride it around the library? Yikes!
And how can it be that, after not seeing double-decker book bins for two years, I've now seen them in three libraries in the same day? Very strange.
There are a couple of study tables. At one, it appeared that a tutor was helping an adult learner, something very nice to see.
The free-standing shelves have a nice gray finish with dark green and natural wood detailing, very attractive. Paperback fiction is shelved horizontally in spinners. That is, instead of six books side-by-side in a compartment of a spinner, there are perhaps eight books in a stack. Interesting, effective, and new to me.
There is a modest-sized tech room with three computers, plus a couple of catalog-only computers.
For more about this library, go to http://www.griver.org/locations-and-hours/great-river-regional-library-Melrose.