The purpose of this visit was to meet someone and hand off some memorabilia from the Volksmarch Association: http://www2.ava.org/. But since I was there, and I noticed a few new things I like, it gets another entry.
First, rental DVDs here are $1.00 for 21 days. Wow! I expect this is the same throughout the Anoka County system, but in the county where I work, rental is 50 cents a day!
At this branch, oversized books are shelved flat on top shelves. I've seen many places where oversized books are flat on the bottom shelves, not on the top. A staff person said that she'd rather not have books on the top or bottom shelves, and I can support that as far as ease of access is concerned. Of course, I'm pretty tall; I don't mind books on the top shelves, but I have colleagues who would take the opposite view.
A very clever display on an endcap invites patrons to "Read 'em before you meet 'em--Books by deceased authors." In addition to books, a brown paper lunch bag was displayed as a tombstone with R.I.P. Nice.
The kids area has joined forces with the Children's Museum in St. Paul, and has features like those in the Woodbury branch library of Washington county: tree trunk, picnic table, grill, farmers market. They also have a "bus" with a driver's seat and steering wheel, plus a bench seat for readers; let's hope the driver doesn't read! In the place of a place to flash your bus pass, there is a phonics spinner: three wheels with letters allowing a kid to create CVC words like bus and bug. Another surprise: double-decker picture book bins. Why is this a surprise? Because a week earlier I saw them, for the first time I could recall, at a couple of small libraries in Great River Region. Did I miss these on my earlier visits? Are they new? A mystery.
A mural in this area shows the Mississippi river with the Minneapolis skyline. Another favorite, and new to me, is a set of shallow shelves (picture a wide kindergarten easel with shelves) with wooden letters about 6" tall. Kids can put the letters in alphabetical order, or create words on these shelves.
Another favorite: this library is on a bus line.
For more about this library, go to http://www.anoka.lib.mn.us/about/locations/acl-mississippi.