Saturday, August 16, 2014

293. Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library, Hayward, Wisconsin

The grounds are handsome this time of year...see the picture below of the library sign. There are two free-standing book drops near the entrance to the library, one for books and one for media. Both appeared to be padlocked, presumably to ensure that materials come inside during open hours. Good idea.

The lobby has an elaborate carved tree "Created for the original Carnegie Library." I think the original library still exists, but I didn't spot it during my visit to downtown. (That visit was for ice cream, of course; see the book Scoop by Jeff Miller.) A quotation on the tree is "With the support of these roots the tree of knowledge grows."

The library was liberally decorated with quilts in an exhibit by the Hayward Piece Makers Quilt Guild.

The children's space is wide open and sunny, with windows on three sides. One low table held a collection of feathers and a large magnifying lens, plus some papers with questions and ideas for details to look for. Nearby, Boy Scout Troop 70 has a display that is at least partly historical; you aren't likely to see equipment like that in use today! An outdoor reading patio has an adult-size picnic table and a matching one in a smaller scale for little kids.

The summer reading program participants have put their names on rocket ships, and the rockets are displayed on one wall. Prizes for the program have been donated by local businesses. (I did not see the ice cream place listed, which disappointed me. After reading the book, I expected better of them. Perhaps they contribute in other ways.)

Books were designated in a way that is new to me, but fortunately a placard was nearby. From it I learned that Int(ermediate) Fic is for grades 4 and up, formerly J items are now E, E means Easy Fiction. All kids' non-fiction is shelved together. This left me not knowing how picture books are labeled, and I forgot to look. Perhaps someone will leave a clarifying comment?

The adult area of the library centers on a large brick fireplace with glass-fronted cabinets holding old books and interesting objects like a stereopticon viewer and a collection of cards. [When I was a kid visiting the children's room in Nashua, NH, in the pre-Viewmaster days, stereopticon viewers were desirable sources of entertainment, when Miss Manning put them out. How's that for dating myself?] A portrait of Sherman and Ruth Weiss hangs on one side of the fireplace, and one of Mr. Carnegie on the other side.

The area designated for teens has a long bow window with a view to a field, marsh, and bird feeder. I bet the adults enjoy it when school is in session!

Oversized books are stored flat in their own bookcase. There are carrels, about nine public computers, and a study room with a microfilm reader. I noticed that during the summer, computer use is limited to two 30-minute sessions per day. I assume that this is because Hayward is a resort area, and there is probably a lot of demand to "check my email."

When I asked about the Carnegie library, I was shown an interesting "Donation Statue" that was brought here from the old building.

For more information, see or On the website, note particularly the detailed information about the many book clubs at the library. I was impressed by the varied interests and the lists of books, both read and upcoming.

292. Peter White Public Library, Marquette, Michigan

 A library set upon a hill. Well, the fact is, everything in Marquette is set upon a hill; it reminds me of Duluth. As you can tell from the title, the library owes its being to Peter White. If you go to the library website (link below), select About and then Library History, you will find a wealth of well-written and illustrated information about this man of "firsts." I think my favorite involves him being the first postmaster to use dog sleds to deliver mail to the UP!

Enter by the imposing front door, and the room to the right contains information, objects, and scrapbooks pertaining to Marquette's two sister cities, Higashiomi, Japan, and Kajaani, Finland. The room to the left has comfortable seating, tables, and periodicals. Both rooms have impressive fireplaces.

An area that might be called an inner lobby has many large photos on the walls, and a very impressive collection of elephant figurines in glass cases.

The main room, beyond the lobby, has large windows with a glimpse of the lake (the south shore of Lake Superior), places to use laptop computers, and the media collection, including books on tape and videos. A glassed-in area labeled Administrative Assistant Office gave a view that reminded me of back stage at a museum. The views of the lake are much more expansive from this upper level.

I'm not an expert, but I think there are very nice Craftsman touches on the stairs, carrels, and shelves.

The Teen-Only area is a sunny corner with sparkling CDs hanging from the ceiling on strings. It is for grades 6 though 12; during the summer it has "teen-only Tuesdays." A librarian and I talked a bit about policies for teen areas, and I've sent her a link to some information based on the Minneapolis Central Library's Teen Zone.

The issue of patrons trying to reshelve books is addressed here by this sign: "Please place items here that are not checked out and need to be reshelved." This is clearer than the message at my library "home," where the words "place unwanted materials here" allegedly prompted one annoyed patron to think that if she placed a book in that location, we would discard it--which is what she wanted us to do!

An upper level houses the genealogy section, Michigan materials, reference works, and non-fiction. Interesting historical items are in glass cabinets with hanging files below. There is a computer lab, at least eight public computers (not in the lab), a career and business center, and a bell collection that may eclipse the elephant collection on the first floor. There is also a large old dollhouse with a scrapbook that explains the story behind it. The MFC Business Reference Room has a number of interesting pieces of antique furniture.

I took the front stairs down past the Art Department and Technical Services, down a long sloping hall past a meeting room, and found the children's area. (Yes, there is an easier way to get there!) A bright blue carpet with fish inserts leads to the librarian's desk. A case holds many small objects and a sign headed "Can you find...?" with many items listed. There are several large stuffed animals, including a wonderful lion on top of a bookshelf; I think he is a cousin of the lion at St. Bonifacius in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Take a look and see what you think.

An unusual wall display consists of seven large fabric applique pictures based on Holling's Paddle to the Sea. These were created by staff and friends in 1976 as part of the bicentennial celebration.

A very clever touch is a planted area outside, facing a cinderblock garage (I think). The cinderblocks have been painted with a mural that makes it look as if the garage is an attractive part of the landscape. There is a large children's play area inside with toys, a ceiling of skylights, a craft area with a tile floor, and a computer specifically for parents to use while children play. I chatted quite a while with staff here, and learned that the children's area is about 10,000 square feet!

For more about this library (and its founder), go to and

291. Munising Public Library, Munising, Michigan

The Munising Public Library is part of the high school building, but as far as I could tell, it is a separate entity, unlike Pipestone, MN, where the library is half a community library, half the high school library. I didn't have a chance to ask about this because this was not an inquisitive, chatty sort of place.

The high school connection was clear, however, in the large class photographs from various years of the William G. Mather High School. The newest of these pictures were from the 60s, and so probably from an earlier building.

To the right of the entrance is a pleasant sitting area for browsing, with chairs upholstered in book-design fabric. There are about a dozen computers, and the science theme of the summer reading program is reflected in the science objects, including a microscope and various jars with biology specimens displayed on a shelf.

The children's area has two computers, round tables with wooden chairs, a child-height, slant-topped box/desk that appeared to be intended to hold large reference books for easy reading, and a collection of floor chairs/backrests. Picture books are labeled "E," which is defined on a sign as "Elementary." "J" designates Junior fiction. Science books were displayed, supporting the summer theme.

For more information, see or

8/14/2014, car

290. Lively Library and Citizen Service Centre, Lively, Ontario, Canada

Let's say I'm planning a return trip from New Hampshire to Minnesota, through Ontario, and looking for likely places to visit libraries. And let's say I'm looking at the Sudbury library website, and I notice that there is a branch in the town of Lively, Ontario. Can I possibly leave a Lively library off my itinerary? Of course not!

One way in which the Lively Library is truly lively is that it shares the building with other services, including a senior center and a children's recreation center. I was admiring a pleasant "living room" browsing area with easy chairs, a coffee table, a rocker with a friendly quilt spread over it. This pleasant space looks out on an area of grass, trees, and a flower garden. Motion outside caught my eye and I saw perhaps 20 kids run out of the building and spread across the grass. I later learned that they participate in a summer recreation program and had probably just finished lunch.

The library is also lively in the sense of being busy. When I was there, people were in every part of the library, browsing, reading, using computers, playing with toys....

An enclosed area for the picture book crowd centered on a structural post that was wrapped to suggest a tree with science-related mobiles forming "branches" and "leaves." A hexagonal bench goes around the base of the pole. I was told that the current mobiles are related to the science-themed summer reading program, and the theme is changed every few months. A poster invites families to "Join us for tales on trails." The next event involves a 1 km hike, a chance to meet an author, and a "Turtle talk" by a professor. 

I'm often too tightly scheduled when I travel to include more than one library in the same system. (I know, I do it to myself!) This is a time when I am very glad I did!

For more about this library, have a look at

8/13/2014, car

289. Greater Sudbury Public Library, Main Library, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

As I entered this library, I was greeted by a display of Summer Reading Program robots. The children's area, along the right side, is divided into three "bays" or rooms. The first is the Kids Zone, or Coin Des Enfant, and holds picture books, toys, and so forth, for the youngest patrons. The next is for "J" books, J Rom (for Roman) in French, J Fic in English. This room has a small nook with a chair, bench, and posters about "What's Happening?"

The third room holds children's non-fiction books. It appears that English and French non-fiction are shelved together here by Dewey number, simply labeled "J", and non-fiction videos are shelved along with the books. I didn't spot any non-fiction DVDs, so I don't know whether they are also intershelved. This room has brightly painted walls, orange, yellow/green, and reddish. Very lively and attractive.

In the adult section I learned that non-fiction books are documentaires, and alternate shelves hace French and English headings. A literacy section includes materials for learning English, and a few for math. There are books in French, Chinese, and Finnish.

The sticker indicating Teen books is a skateboard!

A large Reader's Lounge or Salon des Lecteurs (right-hand side in picture below) has a number of windows. It is decorated with many handprints that seemed to be cut from wood perhaps 1 or 2 cm. thick and painted with enamel, probably by individual patrons. There must have been well over 100, each unique.

The lower level houses the Mary C. Shantz local history collection, four carrels with computers, historic photos on the walls, vertical files and flat files for topo maps. There are also phone directories, microfilms, law books, government documents, and other reference materials. The lower level closes 15 minutes before the lending level, a smart policy.

The Maker Space is also on the lower level, and posters encourage Tweens to learn how to create stop-motion LEGO videos. There is an up-coming contest for 1-minute videos.

To learn more, go to

8/13/2014, car

288. Public Library / Bibliotheque Publique, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

This library began as a Carnegie library in 1914, but I was not able to clearly identify the older part of the building, although I walked all the way around the outside. The sign in front (see first picture below) says "Welcome Visitors. We have free Wi-Fi and computer access." Very nice. The other side of the sign says "Traveling? Borrow a GPS."

This is another library that provides "living room" settings for browsers and readers. This is also the first truly bilingual library I've visited. My high school French was almost up to the task of matching French to English signs, and it was fun to try. Roman = Fiction; Primieres Lectures = First Readers;

One thing that struck me was the number of signs. In addition to the ones on the outside signboard, here are some I copied:
* The library reserves the right to check bags, briefcases...
* Children may not be alone in the library if under 10 years old: It's the law.
* You must present your card... (Where I work, we are often asked for, and grant, exceptions, with ID.)
* Due to the sensitivity of public and staff please do not wear scents. (As this was in the AV section on the lower level, it seems that it might be too late if someone came in highly scented.)

Perhaps my favorite sign was a display of pictures found in returned books, with the question "Did you leave one of these pictures in your book?"

Other things I noticed: This library lends cake pans, and has a collection that would rival the collection in the Osage, Iowa, Public Library. The summer reading club is for ages 6 to 10, a narrower range than I usually see. The Dewey Decimal labels on non-fiction books appear to be all handwritten. "Speed Read" books are similar to rental books in my home library, but they circulate for one week and the overdue fine is $1.00 a day; ours are a flat 25 cents a day and the patron can keep it ... forever, I guess!

I saw about a dozen public computers and noticed that each computer has a name rather than a number: Tennyson, Orwell, Swift. The microfilm reader is named Minnie. Wouldn't it be more fun to say "Orwell needs to be rebooted," rather than referring to SV-10, for example?

The most striking feature of the AV collection was the number of TV series DVDs. I actually counted about 50 5-foot shelves of them; that's ten five-foot sections, each five shelves high. You name a TV show, they probably have it.

They also already had a display of Robin Williams' movies.

I chatted with a staff person who told me that her daughter has a MLS degree and works upstairs; which TV show does that conjure?*

For more about this library, have a look at

8/13/2014, car

I parked and entered the library here.

In my effort to spot remnants of the original Carnegie library, I walked around to this side--
and I'm still not sure. Maybe where the chimney is?
*All In the Family, of course.

Friday, August 15, 2014

287. Arnprior Public Library, Arnprior, Ontario, Canada

This library would have been a welcome and pleasant walk from my motel, except that it happened to be pouring rain when I arrived in Arnprior. What I saw in the evening and as I drove through town the next morning made me think that another visit might be in order, next summer. At that time, I'd like to allow enough time to explore the town a bit.

I started in the children's area. The floor is tile, mostly blue, with circle and arc patterns in other bright colors, creating a very welcoming effect. Large wall displays inform kids that if they read 10 books in the summer reading program, they are invited to the Eccentric Adam Show. For 20 books, they may see the librarian about having a name plate put in the book of their choice--what a great idea! And for 40 books, they will be invited to "The Gala."

This is the first library where I have seen boxes of "Brain Quest" cards available to check out. As a circulation clerk, I wonder whether the staff has to count all the cards each time one of these boxes is returned! I looked at the great expanse of series books and spotted several that must be Canadian, as they were not familiar to me: The Last Apprentice, The Agency (definitely Canadian, as each book in the series has a red and white maple leaf sticker), The Boy Sherlock Holmes (ditto), and Raven Hill Mysteries are some that I noted.

In the YA corner, three girls were engrossed in books and laptops. This corner is close to a window wall that looks out on a lawn, perhaps a park, that may have a view to the river in clement weather. Newspapers and large print books are nearby for browsing in a "living room" area. I spotted at least four public computers.

I seem to have missed the non-fiction collection, but on the lower level I found adult fiction, assorted tables and chairs, another "living room" in front of a fireplace, with new fiction nearby, and a staff workroom with a window wall. I like the idea that patrons can see staff at work!

I had a nice chat with staff before bolting to my car and driving the two blocks back to my motel.

For more about this library, go to and

8/12/2014, car

286. North Hero Library, Grand Isle, Vermont

I had a couple of libraries on my list for this leg of the trip, but for some reason my GPS thought I should take a ferry to get to them. I had no intention of taking a ferry, so I just kept driving on Route 2...and then I spotted this library in Grand Isle, VT. And it was open, so clearly I was meant to visit ;-).

The main room of the library has wooden shelves of fiction, mostly. This makes sense for a small library, since non-fiction is more readily available and likely to be up to date on the Internet. I saw a number of books that I recognize as recent publications. The "Adopt an Author" program might work well here; see the description in the post about Barre, Vt.

In the children's area, picture books are sorted by category rather than author: Concepts, Stories, Holidays/Celebrations, Nature, Trucks, Growing Up, and so forth. I like the poster of Waldo's Tips for taking care of books!

For more about this library, take a look at, and know that a library can better be judged by the spirit of its people than by the size of its budget.

8/12/2014, car

285. Aldrich Public Library, Barre, Vermont

Barre, Vermont, is a noted center of granite quarrying, and granite is evident everywhere in town, from curbs to statues--and in the handsome Aldrich Library. A room to the left of the entrance has a massive fireplace and houses biographies and reference books. Patrons are asked to "leave reference books on the tables or return them to the circulation desk"--in other words, don't try to reshelve them! The room on the right side also has a fireplace and is set up as a "living room" for browsing periodicals.

I saw a display for a program that intrigues me: Adopt an Author. Adoption means that you agree to buy the library at least one copy of each title published by your chosen author, for at least one year, and you can get it/them at a discounted price. In exchange, you will be the first to borrow that author's books.

Some very old architectural features are still in evidence, if not in use, including a dumbwaiter (I'm sure it was once used to retrieve books from stacks on various levels) and heavy wooden pocket doors between the entry/lobby area and the stacks.

In the newer section, a set of old card catalog drawers is being used for seeds. This is a bright, light area with a full window wall. Computers are in carrels, new books are labeled with their acquisition dates (11/13 is new?), and many VHS tapes are still circulating.

The lower level houses the Katherine Paterson Children's Room. Paterson is a resident of Barre! When I arrived, a summer lunch program was in full swing with four or more tables in use. I'm not sure, but it appeared that adults were eating, not just kids, a difference from my home in St. Paul, MN. The space includes plenty of room for a wooden railroad, a toy kitchen, and a puppet theater. Of course there is also a large Real Good Toys dollhouse; Barre is the home of this well-known manufacturer of quality dollhouse kits.

I did not meet any of the people who helped me out a few months back when I was trying to recall the name of a book set partially in Barre; it turned out to be Bread and Roses, Too, by Katherine Paterson, and I recommend it to you if you like historical fiction and would like to know about the connection between Barre, VT, and the mill strikes in Lawrence, MA. But I did meet and chat with several very nice staff people, and I'd like Nancy to know that I will pick up The Flint Heart at the Minneapolis Central Library tomorrow.

To learn more, go to the library's website at or

8/12/2014, car

284. Lebanon New Hampshire

For a change, I was early, arriving in Lebanon almost an hour before the library opened. This gave me a relaxing chance to walk around the park across the street from the library and to sit on a park bench and read for a while.

As you might guess from the pictures, the building is a Carnegie, dating from 1909. The main entrance has a pair of curved staircases down to the lower level, but both of these are closed by expanding "baby gates" that look as if they have been in place for a long time. Beyond the entrance, the lobby is encircled with fancy columns; I once could have named the style of the capitals, I think, but ... no longer.

There is a large room to each side of the lobby, each with a fireplace and a broad bow window. The room to the left houses media (DVDs, CDs), tables, and a catalog computer. The room to the right holds public computers. The lobby has a grandfather clock, so we know this is a NH library!

Straight ahead through the lobby, the adult stacks felt classic to me, with tall shelving (7 shelves high) and a low ceiling. In fact, they felt a bit like the stacks at the old Nashua, NH, library where I worked in the 50s.

Through the stacks and down seven steps brought me to the children's area. This is in a newer part of the building, and the original outside walls are a handsome addition. There is a door at this level that provides direct access for kids and also an accessible entrance to the elevator for those who don't care to use the many steps up to the front door.

I like the semi-enclosed area for the smallest patrons, and the picture book collection seemed to be very large.

I took stairs up to the upper level and arrived at the teen area. The walls here have been painted very creatively with natural designs reflecting the Golden Mean: a large sunflower, for example, with its pattern of seeds. There are three computers, three round study tables, and collections of Y fiction, audio, DVDs, some non-fiction, and graphic novels.

Also on this level is a library office with windows on two sides, allowing sight lines to various upstairs spaces. Here you'll also find paperback fiction, audio books, and a microfilm reader with NH Census reports back to 1910, the Granite State Whig (newspaper) from 1844 to 1888, and various other old papers. There is also a rather assertive air conditioning blower. Oversize books and the 900s are shelved on a balcony overlooking the lower level of the Carnegie building.

I had planned to visit a different library in this area, but a niece recommended this one, and as usual she was right. [I'll visit the other one next summer.]

For more about this library, visit its website at I can't find a Facebook page, but the website gives a link to a Twitter feed.

8/12/2014, car

Playing catch-up

I finally caught up with the ten libraries I visited on the trip from NH to MN. So I could delete this post, but hey...I don't want to lose the "visits" from the statistics!


Monday, August 11, 2014

169a. Moosilauke Public Libary, N. Woodstock, NH --Revisit

This was a serendipitous visit. My sister and I had been to several libraries in the area and were looking for a parking place so that she could program our next goal into her GPS. When I saw where we were, I realized that I had been here last summer, on a day when the library was closed. (See entry 169, June 4, 2013.) At that time, I had peeked in windows, read posters, and written what I could; now I could go inside.

The visit was short but a lot of fun. I told staff about my earlier not-quite visit, and one of them remembered that I had left a note on the door at that time. We chatted about the very tall bookshelves, and the large collection of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books in the children's area. I noticed at least three desks/tables provided for the use of laptops.

As we were getting ready to leave, my sister noted the large "balance ball" (also called a yoga ball, I think) and we learned that it serves as the desk chair for the librarian. During these visits, I always look for "nowhere else" items, and I realized that I had just found one here!

To learn more about this library, go to

8/11/2014, car, with JH

283. Richardson Memorial Library, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

If you know Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, at all, you probably know it for Polly's Pancake Parlor, with its wonderful food. But you should know that it also has a museum, and next door to the museum a very nice small library, tucked into a building with the police department.

My sister and I were waiting when the librarian and her husband arrived to open the library at 2 p.m. The first thing we learned was that a lightning hit recently caused the library to lose all power and blew out most of the computers. Ouch! It's good that no worse damage happened to the library and the surroundings.

The largest scrapbooks I've ever seen hold clippings, pictures, and such, documenting the local school and the Community Church.

The children's area has a green "reading chair" with the words Create, Wish, Magic, Success, Believe. The assistant librarian told us that the librarian has a background in education and has done a great deal to promote children's reading. She sounds like just what is needed!

Audio books are popular here. Interlibrary loans are available and widely used.

For more about this library, go to and for general information about Sugar Hill, try

8/11/14, car, with JH

I like the little policemen that welcome one to the building
that houses the police station and the library.

282. Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Sometime in the past year I received an article about how this library came to be. It's quite a story, and I immediately put Bethlehem, NH, on my list for this summer. When my sister and I arrived just minutes before opening today, patrons were already lined up at the door, ready to get inside. By the time we were inside, three young women were already seated at study tables, working away on laptop computers that (I soon learned) can be borrowed from the circulation desk to be used at the library.

As I entered the library, I spotted a meeting room with a large flat screen TV to the left of the entrance. The lobby has a metal "giving tree" with leaves showing the names of donors. Just inside, a large corner cabinet showcases items from Bethlehem's history.

The general library area is brightened by high windows on one end, taller windows on the front and back walls. Low shelves allow good sightlines for staff, easy access to books, and light penetrating the space. A separate room is reserved for quiet research and study. It has a "database and research" computer and a selection of reference books.

There are two artificial (but quite realistic) trees marking the entrance to the children's area. A colorful Mother Goose mural brightens one wall. The summer reading program clearly had a science theme; there was a display on the wall headed "Junior Scientists," and the topics listed were Pond Life, Weather, Robotics, Healthy Kids and Solar Flares. A project area has a tile floor, kitchen facilities, and two tables. I like the brightly painted wooden chairs.

This library has one of the telescopes provided through the partnership between libraries and the New Hampshire Astronomy Society. I really think this is a wonderful program.

A teen area is in the corner diagonally from the children's area.

Circulation appears to be managed by a date slip stapled to an item. A bar code is stuck to the date slip, so the item can be scanned before the due date is stamped on the slip. (I saw this on a periodical; it is possible that books are handled differently.)

A conversation overheard between library staff and a non-resident patron revealed that a $1.00 donation allows one to check out a laptop with Internet access for 30 minutes.

For more about this library, go to and

Sunday, August 10, 2014

281. Freedom, New Hampshire

Without intending to, I chose a very lively day to visit the library in Freedom, NH--it was the end of Old Home Week, and the Friends of the Library were holding a bake sale and book sale outside, while inside children were being recruited to draw the names of winners (adults and kids) in the Summer Reading Program.  An interesting touch: instead of the plastic buckets and cups used for the deposit of SRP tickets at other libraries I've visited, Freedom uses glass canning jars with slotted cardboard lids. Neat.
A small room barely contains four public computers, and when I was there all of them were being used. There are also a couple of catalog computers. And while the library has obviously come into the computer era in this regard, I was intrigued to notice that they still use book pockets and cards, and stamped dates, to manage circulation. When I spotted a couple of books with pockets and cards I thought that I might be seeing relics, but I located a recent work of fiction that had been checked out in July 2014. It's a system that has worked well for many, many decades, and I'm glad to see that at least one library still uses it. [Actually, two that I know of. The other is Taylor's Falls, Minnesota.]
The children's room has windows on two sides and a nice collection of picture books, easy readers, plus "J" fiction and non-fiction. A boy was occupied with a construction toy (not with the huge collection of LEGOs), and three tween girls were engrossed in books in a cozy corner.
The summer reading program has something for all levels, and I think it is neat that the youngest participants designed "book jackets" that were displayed in great numbers. I took away a "Summer Reading Program Log" and see that a number of different activities count toward raffle tickets: read, one star for each 20 minutes; check out books, magazines, or audios; write a book review; post, share or comment on the library's Facebook page; attend a library program; and perform a random act of kindness (describe what you did on the back of the paper). A patron would use one of these logs each week, and there are maximums for each category. It's very well-rounded, in my opinion.
On a lower level I found a good-sized meeting room equipped with a computer projector in the ceiling, a zillion jigsaw puzzles, and collections of DVDs and recorded books labeled "Bear Camp Rotating Collection." I should have asked about that. I meant to, but then I was distracted by my main reason for choosing this Freedom among so many possible others for this "library collecting trip."
That reason was Louie, the library cat. Louie was making himself scarce outdoors; after all, the place was very lively with all the action going on. But a tall gentleman located him and brought him to the door (thank you!)...whereupon he wriggled free and bolted across the parking lot. The librarian and I followed him, and as you can see below I was able to get a picture of his handsome, tiger-striped self. Meeting Louie was my birthday present to myself!
At some time in the recent past the library had a contest for patrons to design bookmarks. The winning designs in each of four age groups have been printed on sturdy plastic, with the library address and hours on the back--and these are available for free, so I took one of each! Thank you!
Then I bought cupcakes, brownies, and candy at the sale, pulled myself away from the boxes of books, and headed back to my sister's house in Dunbarton.
8/9/2014, car

Notice the date, 1892.
The current building was "presented to the town" on August 26, 1971.

Here's Louie being distracted by the librarian while I snap his picture.
He did let me pat him a little.

280. Josiah Carpenter Library, Pittsfield, New Hampshire

This library dates to 1901. The building is quite handsome, and the plaque in front reflects town pride. Four computers serve the residents' needs for Internet connection. The main room on the first floor has the circulation desk, part of the book collection, and media. (Since 2008, only patrons 18 and older have been able to check out DVDs; it seems that the younger patrons had a serious problem with returning movies on time!) There is a room on either side of the door available for quiet reading, perhaps with a cup of coffee from the coffee maker, which you may have for 50 cents.

The back room contains the stacks; the collection here appeared to be non-fiction and teen books. There was a sign inviting patrons to "browse the new books in Large Print." And one section is labeled "Classics," with books by Dickens Hawthorne, and such. The collection is limited, but is augmented through state-wide interlibrary loan.

The children's area is downstairs. Unfortunately it is not open to the public at this time while some needed renovation is done. There are a couple of bright rugs, a large "project table," and a collection of children's books, including picture books, J fiction, and non-fiction. Although children cannot come down to browse and make their own choices, staff will bring books upstairs for them on request. I found the "children's catalog" on the library website. They use a program I've not seen before called Kidviz. If this is unfamiliar to you, I suggest you take a look; it's quite interesting. It was puzzling, however. I expected it to only display "J" books, and when I used the selection buttons that seemed to be the case. But when I put "horses" in the search box, the first results were novels by
Dick Francis!

Despite obvious shortcomings, the library has a variety of programs throughout the year, including movies and author visits. There is a teen writing group, a teen reading group, and a summer reading program that was held outdoors when weather allowed and in the nearby elementary school when necessary. In this small town, the SRP attracted 30 to 40 kids, which suggests the library's value. I hope that the renovations can be completed soon, for the sake of those kids.

To learn more about this library, go to or visit their Facebook site at

8/9/2014, car

Saturday, August 9, 2014

279. Baker Free Library, Bow, New Hampshire

From the street, this appears to be an old library. Once I drove around to the parking lot, however, I saw the "new" addition from 1967. One of the nicest features of the addition is a large round porch with several benches. I took a course in architectural design once and recall the professor saying that it's important that buildings have a "sense of entrance." This library certainly does!'' The porch also houses a standard "mail slot" for returning books and a free-standing metal structure for returning DVDs and CDs.

Inside, the visitor is greeted by a near-life-size figure of a woman holding the book Our Mutual Friends by Charles Dickens. I was told that the figure represents Mary Baker Eddy, after whom the library is named.

There is a room for story hours and meetings that opens from the lobby and from the library proper. A sign in the children's room area asks that parents please accompany children using the bathroom--very good advice, especially with the littler ones.

The summer reading program is "Dive into a good book," and the walls in the children's area have been decorated with very large undersea-themed cutouts. It appears that reading a book entitles a kid to add a smaller fish to these walls, and there are a great many. The kids of Bow have definitely been reading!

A large bow window area is decorated with trees and branches painted on the walls above and between window sections; I think Peter Pan is swinging from one of the branches on the left. Soft chairs and stuffed animals are available in this area, and it looks very inviting. A bit further along there are shelves of J and YA CDs and audiobooks, J and YA fiction, and YA Manga. Three study tables are placed along the windows in this area. It appears that all non-fiction (adult and juvenile) is shelved together, a fairly common practice; not labeling the J non-fiction is less common, in my experience.

The older section of the library has two fireplaces, one of which looks as if it might still be used at times. There is a curved window seat, and two large tables for reading or study. A sign on the tables tells patrons "To talk on your cell phone, please go to the lobby." On either side of the old (now unused) front door is a tiny nook, perhaps at one time a closet. Each of these small spaces has a shelf and a chair, if you really need to turn your back on the world and concentrate!

Two areas of the library, one near the newspapers and one near periodicals, have upholstered chairs and a table in the center, nice for reading and browsing. Finally, there are at least four public computers and a display of DVDs. The DVDs have an overdue fine policy that struck me as unusual: Overdue 1 to 7 days, $1.00; 8 to 15 days, $5.00; 16 to 30 days, $10.00; and 31 or more days, $20.00. And if your DVD is overdue, you cannot renew it. I should have asked, because I now find myself wondering, whether that means, for example, that for each day overdue you pay the stated amount. In other words, a DVD overdue 7 days would be $7.00 and the 8th day would add $5.00? Perhaps someone in Bow will read this and add a comment to enlighten the rest of us.

To learn more about this library, go to or

8/8/2014, car

278. Peterborough, New Hampshire

The Peterborough Town Library is famous for being the first publicly supported library in the U. S. I was given a booklet, "History of the Peterborough Town Library: America's first publicly supported library." From that booklet I learned that its roots go back to the 1790s, a "Juvenile Library" was available in a private home in 1828, and the Peterborough Library Company was formed in 1833. Shares in the library were $2.00, yearly dues 50 cents, and lifetime membership $6.00. A room upstairs in the older part of the building (see the chimney and upper windows in the pictures below) holds evidence of this early history, including a case with the actual first 100 books acquired! Just for fun, see if you can guess the title of the very first book added to the collection; the answer is at the end, below the pictures.

In current times you enter via the ramp or stairs visible in the first picture below. The first thing I saw on entering was a display of new books, showing where the current focus lies. (I say that because often the first thing I see upon entering a library these days is AV media of various sorts, not books!) There certainly is media, however, and a series of empty spinners labeled Videos, plus a single spinner holding VHS tapes, suggests that this format is being phased out.

The "living room" browsing area is so attractive, I got permission to share it with you; see the third picture below. The beauty continues in the collection of art that may be borrowed, and a display of photographs by Chuck Bruce. I especially like the Arches NP pictures and the squirrels.

The fiction section suggests the need for more shelves or a bit of the dreaded "weeding," as many shelves had books laid horizontally across the shelved books, enough that it did not seem accidental.

The children's area was "guarded" by a very large rat in a lab coat, signaling this year's science-themed summer reading program. Many papers displayed roller coasters with cars drawn on by kids to document the number of books read. There are more than a dozen "floor chairs"--backrests--for kids to use. I like the sign that tells us "E Books are Picture Books." I know of some places where these are called "Everyone" books. I tend to like anything that gets away from the idea that these books are "Easy," as many of them are not.

One more feature from the children's area is a looonnng paper chain that loops back and forth overhead. I learned that adding links to the chairn is one more way for kids to document the number of books read this summer. A whole lot of reading has been done by the kids of Peterborough!

I spotted some "Discover History" backpacks provided (or at least sponsored) by the Peterborough History Society. Each of these contains (the sign says) three books, puzzles, and a guide to a walking tour. This is a great addition to the library.

Finally, I visited the older part of the building. I mentioned the upper room with the historical materials. The lower, or main, level has non-fiction, an enormous fireplace, and a large antique wall clock. Tucked under the stairs is the reference librarian's desk. Library circulation staff insisted that I should meet the reference librarian, Brian. [I think; I didn't write the name down, so please correct me if I'm wrong.) He was very gracious and obviously pleased to share the history of the library. He gave me the booklet I mentioned above, and even walked outside with me to show me the recent painting on the ceiling of the old entrance; see the last picture, below).

I would certainly suggest a visit to Peterborough if you have any interest in the history of libraries. If you can't get there in person, you can visit and

[The first book added was: Analysis of the Epistle of St. Paul by John Locke.]

Friday, August 8, 2014

277. Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, Vermont

Until this visit, Brattleboro was simply a place to semi-bypass when driving from NH to points west. Then I read all of Archer Mayor's books and wanted to see Brattleboro in order to become more familiar with some of the sites/sights in his books. Then I developed this library-visiting hobby and learned that a friend of a friend works here, and it became inevitable that Brattleboro would be on my list for the current trip.

The visit started with a parking challenge, but I found a place where I could back in without exactly parallel parking; I ended up with only one tire on the sidewalk, not too bad, and scrounged a few coins in a cup holder to feed the meter. Then a hair-raising trip across the street. Yes, there was a crosswalk just a bit further along the sidewalk, but I didn't see it. A.M. should have more pedestrian accidents in his books!

After looking at a display of watercolors by a local artist and a case full of Fort Dummer artifacts from 1724 to 1760, I came to the browsing area with periodicals and a straightforward sign: "Do not steal. Library magazines are for everyone to enjoy." I looked for Archer Mayor books on the fiction shelves but didn't find any; perhaps they have a special spot, or perhaps they are too popular to stay in place. The first floor also has what appears to be a genealogy office and a phonograph with a turntable. Fiction and part of the non-fiction collection are shelved in traditional stacks. A reference aisle seemed very dark until I took one more step and motion-sensing lights came on. Kudos to Brattleboro for environmental sensitivity. Seriously.

Upstairs I found the rest of the non-fiction. A long hallway has a window wall on one side, looking into the children's area. At one end is a round table with two chairs designated for studying, and at the other end a similar table with two chairs for snacks. The snack table has a time limit of 30 minutes.

A very nice display concerned the writing of The Ten Button Book by William Accosi. I am not familiar with this book, but it looks very cool. I tried to reserve it back home at one of my usual libraries and found that it is a "Children's Reference Book" in the Milestones Collection. Now I really want to see it!

The summer reading program science theme was clear in graphics along the glass window wall, props for exploring force and motion, and an opportunity to make a pinwheel, "adult help required."

Graphic novels have their own corner, with a "handprint" rug and some beanbag seating. After noticing all of this, and the book collections and toddler toys and all, I told the staff person at the desk that a friend in Minnesota knows the children's librarian in Brattleboro. That got an immediate response from the nearby librarian, and we had a fine chat until I had to rescue my car from the meter and the sidewalk and get on to my next stop.

For more about the Brooks Memorial library, go to or their Facebook page at The Facebook page has an interesting approach to maintaining subscriptions to specific periodicals--take a look.

8/6/2014, car

276. Richfield Springs, New York

Richfield Springs is located on Route 20, which was the main route across New York back in the pre-Interstate days when my folks drove me from New Hampshire to my college in Ohio. (No, I didn't drive myself. "Girls" were not allowed to have cars on campus, and I couldn't have afforded one in any case.) I do not specifically remember this town, but as I drove past a park that fronts on Main Street (route 20), I recalled quite clearly that we once stopped here and ate at a nearby diner. When the librarian told me about the clock that was, at that time, located in the middle of the road (yes, really!) I was certain, although the clock tower is now out of the road and in a corner of the park.

Enough of memory lane. This library was a gift to the town from the Proctor family, who had come from Germany to Richfield Springs by way of Vermont in the early 1900s. Their gifts also included three parks and that infamous clock tower. The library architecture includes a half-buttress design that makes it look rather like a cathedral on the inside.

A meeting room at the rear holds antique furniture and a piano. Various civic groups use this space for their meetings. When I was there, it was set up for a Village Board meeting, with comfortable-looking chairs for the board members and metal folding chairs for those with the temerity to attend.

The children's area has a fireplace, large windows, and a long low table. The adult non-fiction area also has a fireplace, plus study tables and a computer and printer.

A complete kitchen holds avocado appliances, a clue to when it was added!

I liked the note from a local Head Start class: "Thank you Mrs. Mahardy for taking us places when you read to us." Yes, Mrs. Mahardy, I thank you too for what you give these kids.

I noticed a dial telephone on a shelf behind the service desk and learned that it is still a working phone; children are allowed to use it if they need to call home! The librarian also lets them try a manual typewriter at times. This is a woman after my own heart...I provide similar opportunities at the school where I volunteer, though my dial phone does not work as a phone.

The library website is:

8/6/2014, car


275. Waterville, NY

As I entered this library, I saw two things that suggested this would be an unusual visit, but at first I didn't pay that much attention. The two things? An array of what looked like solar panels in a field beside the library, and a poster about the Barton-Brown Astronomical Observatory. I'll come back to these.

First, let's look at the children's area, with its four simple rules: Be kind to others, No yelling, No Running, Pick up all toys before you leave. An "artists' corner" displayed posters related to water. A sign asks "Where did I find this book?" and reminds the reader that "If you can't remember where a book is from, place it here when you are done. Thank you." There are whimsical designs on the walls, and a large bow window looks out to a garden area. There is a summer reading program with prizes, of course, and later on the day I was there kids would be coming in to create LEGO robots and watch the LEGO movie at 11.

There were also summer reading programs for teens and adults. An area with tall arched windows is set up as a "living room," with arm chairs and a small sofa. The non-fiction area is a quiet corner with a table and more arm chairs. It's a very inviting, comfortable space.

But about those solar panels.... When I asked about them, I was introduced to Jeffrey Reynolds, the Library Director. Now, this was a bit frustrating for both of us, I think. On my part, if you've been reading these posts you know that I'd had some recent trouble keeping to my travel schedule--but I'm very interested in alternative energy! On Jeff's part, he's very knowledgeable and proud of what the library has done, and he came from his office prepared with charts showing the effects of the panels. We accommodated each other quite well, I think. The solar panels provide about 35% of the electricity needed by the library, and on a good sunny day, excess power is sold back to the electric utility. This can amount to as much as $18.00 a day, and that that adds up!

On to the observatory. [Note: This is an observatory, not a planetarium. It cannot, for example, summon an eclipse just because you'd like to see one!] The observatory is a partnership between the Waterville Public Library and the Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society. The Society needed a permanent home for its telescope (now two telescopes); the library had land and is located away from the lights of town. So a unique building was constructed. It does not have the iconic observatory dome, but rather has a roof that is designed to be rolled completely away from the large room that holds the telescopes. These are large, sophisticated telescopes, equipped with GPS to help zero in on desired objects; one is particularly designed for photography. There is also a small room with a desk for computers, the "warm room" for observers.

The observatory building is not only practical but also esthetically pleasing. The door, for example, was designed and constructed of cherry wood by a local craftsman. It is decorated with twig art; be sure to look at pictures of the building on the library website (links below).This is a wonderful addition to the town and area, and a very fruitful partnership.

Before we returned to the library building, Jeff showed me where there will be an amphitheater next year, for performances of various sorts. There is also a path around the library, leading through a beautiful garden, which I understand attracts a lot of stroller traffic at certain times..

The library website with links to more information is at and their Facebook page is You can also find sites for the Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society.

Thanks for the tour, Jeff. I hope I wasn't too impatient--I really was interested!

8/6/2014, car

Thursday, August 7, 2014

274. Cazenovia, New York

The first thing I spotted when I walked in the door was a sign with a picture of a cat and the request, "Please don't let Page out after 7 p.m." Page is the library cat, the first I've met! When I inquired, I learned that she was in the hall. She allowed me to pet her (a bit) and posed for a photo:

Page, casting a wary eye on the stranger with the camera and notebook.
After the excitement of meeting a real library cat, I took a deep, calming breath and looked around. The first striking feature is the color palette of the interior, white, pink, and purple...though those colors probably have more specific names. I wish I had taken an interior picture, but you can get an idea of what I mean if you go to and look at the last picture. And you'll meet Page's predecessors; she is not the first cat to make this library her home.
One bookshelf is filled with high school summer reading books. Nearby are three study tables, each with four chairs, with short walls separating them. A Young Adult alcove has a round table with wooden chairs that have interesting and varied seat cushions. The library's oversized books fill shelves to the left, YA books fill shelves along the outer wall and to the right. The next alcove has "J" books, series books, and "J" media.
For the youngest patrons, there is an old-style wooden cradle filled with board books, shelves of picture books, and a low wooden train table. A Plexiglas-covered rack displays Beatrix Potter books and figures, and a sign says that a few days earlier, on July 28, there was a Beatrix Potter birthday party on the library lawn.
A separate room called the Story Garden has about a dozen kid-sized wooden chairs with backs shaped like treetops and painted green. It's a cozy and cute space for programs and story times.
I'm sure there are also wonderful facilities and services for adults, but alas, they did not make it into my notes.
There is a lot of history connected with this library, and I suggest that you visit their website (link above) and look around. I also commend the town for providing ample free parking close to the library and downtown!
8/6/2014, car

273. Newark, New York

This is a dual-purpose building that houses both the public library and the Hoffman Clock Museum. I arrived here quite close to closing time, so I barely peeked into the clock museum and saved my time for the library.

The high windows all around suggested to me that this might be a Carnegie library, but it is not. Rather, the library was a gift to the village from Henry Rew (1839 - 1912). The many large, antique vases that grace the tops of shelves are believed by current staff to have also come from Mr. Rew.

The main floor houses the adult collections and a study room dedicated to the memory of Fayetta Hall. There are eight public computers, DIY coffee, and a full-size rural mailbox for suggestions. Lots of varied seating areas are spread throughout this level.

Downstairs houses the teen and children's areas. The teens have two "diner booths," other varied seating, table games, an Internet computer and one for the library catalog, and magnetic poetry, in addition to books and media. The children's area is surprisingly large and also has two computers. There is a bright, toy-filled area for toddlers, with a sign "Parents: Please encourage children to clean up..." The parents who were there that day must not have been the encouraging sort, and the staff had quite a tidying job ahead! Base plates for both Duplo and regular LEGO blocks are mounted vertically on the walls, allowing a different sort of building than is usually seen, a very creative and space-saving idea. The staff person I talked to explained that this lower level has recently been renovated, and is still in a state of "settling in."

For more about this library, visit their blog at or their website at They also have a Facebook presence at

8/5/2014, car

272. Charlevoix, Michigan

Where to begin with this amazing library? The building's beginning was in 1927, when it was built as an elementary school and gymnasium. It served in this role until changing demographics, and a new middle school, resulted in its abandonment as a school. Fortuitously, at about the same time the town needed a larger library, and in September 2006, the building opened in its new role.

A little booklet about library history describes great creativity. A mural was painted that depicts life in Charlevoix during the 20s. The basketball gymnasium with its vaulted roof became the home of the Pew-Ives Adult Collection. The sunny kindergarten room with its handsome tiled fireplace became a sitting room for reading and browsing periodicals. (Really? A fireplace in a kindergarten room? Yes, and it once had a fishpond, too. How times have changed!) The classroom corridor has been opened up to create an inspiring children's area. A starry oculus graces the Youth Activity Center. The Children's Corner includes four large fiberglass trees; three of these have hollow reading nooks, which the fourth has been adapted as a computer station. Somehow I missed seeing the Puppet Theater, which surprised me when I read about it, as I usually spot such things. But I did arrive late, and had only about 20 minutes to try and absorb this marvelous space.

So, out of the booklet and into my notebook. There is a Teen Lounge just inside the door, perhaps where the school office or library used to be. Along the corridor of the Children's Corner are many touches that I now realize reflect the building's origins, including sets of seats from the gymnasium and a school clock (original?) with the paper tape that ensured that bells rang on time. I like the quotation from Abraham Lincoln that I saw on the wall: "A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. The fate of humanity is in his hands." So true, and too often forgotten.

The Program Room has a spiral pattern of tiles on the floor and a real kitchen, ready for all sorts of programs. Window seats have cushions tucked underneath.  There is a computer lab with 10 separate tables with wheels, each with a computer, a very flexible setup.

I learned from staff that the "I geek ..." posters throughout the library are, as I suspected, photos of local residents with symbols of their interests. I saw "I geek..." posters at other Michigan libraries last summer, but I'm not sure those were local.

That's as much as I could grasp in the short time I had. I took a few pictures of the grounds, which are also full of interesting details, see below. I strongly suggest that you go to and the Facebook site and look around! And if you are ever near Charlevoix, stop by the library, for sure. Preferably, more than 20 minutes before closing!

I didn't see this until after I left the library;
my guess is that an earlier library in Charlevoix
must have been a Carnegie.

A neighborhood man told me that the bookworm is a very new addition to the grounds.

Petoskey, Michigan

Did you notice that Petoskey does not have a numbered entry? That's not an oversight. Through a combination of factors, not least of which was that I forgot that Michigan is in the Eastern time zone, I arrived at Petoskey just as the staff was leaving, at about 7:05. This library has been on my list of places to visit for a long time...since last summer, I think. But I had to settle for outside pictures, and I will of course direct you to their website. But I can't count it as a library visited, unfortunately.

I did have a nice, if brief, chat with a patron who was sitting by the employee entrance (well, in this case, egress). He pointed out to me the old library building across the street, and I thank him for that.

More info? Go to Compared to the pictures there, mine serve simply to document that I was, indeed, there.


This walking labyrinth is part of the library grounds.

 This is the old library building across the street.

Approaching from the side. The fence surrounds a reading garden.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

271. Marinette, Wisconsin

The Stephenson Public Library was established 1903, according to the sign out front. (You can get into a lively discussion about the actual date, however.) It is the home of the Marinette County library system. Driving around to the "back," which is now the front, I saw the part that was added in the 1950s. There is ample parking in a lot along the river, the most attractive parking I've seen in a while...I could have sat there and watched the water flow by, but...

The first floor has media, plus 15 or so public computers. A TV tuned to the weather channel is built into the wall.

The children's area is a separate room on this level. A column right inside the room is wrapped in paper to look like a tree. When I walked in, a gaggle of small girls were playing with horse statues. They reminded me of kids at my Summerstuff program in Salisbury, NH, back in 1970. A program room is under the old part of the library with three broad carpeted steps between two elaborate stairs to the upper level. There are plenty of picture books, and just as I was wondering about the "J" collection, I found myself in the "back" of the media area, where the children's collection is housed.

A "kindness quilt" made of pictures on squares of paper that have been joined to look like a quilt. The pictures, which show "acts of kindness," were created by kids in grades 1 through 4 at Park Elementary. The "kindness" program is also being used in some libraries in southeastern Minnesota.

A nearby teen area includes college guide brochures.

The adult collection is up one level to what feels like a mezzanine, since it surrounds and looks down on the space below. The older part of the building has a circle of 11 columns, two fireplaces (no longer in use), and an impressive grandfather clock. In the newer part, glass walls enclose a quiet reading area, allowing a view to the river.

Back downstairs at the service desk, I resolved one issue that had puzzled me. Near that desk is what looks a bit like the lockers at an "Express" library in Minnesota. Signs, however, make it clear that this is related to checking out DVDs. I spoke to staff and learned that because of a past "loss" problem, most DVD cases are now shelved empty; to check out the disk, a patron scans the barcode on the case, and this device dispenses the disk. Apparently it works well, except when patrons forget to wait for or take additional disks in a multi-DVD set.

I also learned that materials placed in the book drop after hours count as returned on the next business day; where I work, we treat them as coming in on the previous business day. Good old "kinder, gentler" Minnesota! Not trying to cast aspersions--I could make a case for either practice, and the main issue is what patrons are accustomed to.

For more about this library, go to

8/4/2014, car


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

270. Wausau Wisconsin Public Library

I intended to be on the road at 6 am, which should have put me at this library right when it opened at 9, and I didn't get such a very late start. But what with one little thing and another, I got there about 9:30. That, and the amazing things I found inside, had a ripple effect on the rest of the day, as you will see if you read the following posts. But let's visit this library!

I was barely inside the door when I encountered the children's area, which is impossible to miss. See the picture below for the yellow brick road and the mural of Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and (I believe) Aesop's Bremen Musicians. The window to the right of Rapunzel is clear glass with an etched picture for each letter of the alphabet, very classy and unusual.

The next amazing feature is an aquarium built into the wall, probably 15-16 feet long! A sign names the persons or businesses that help with upkeep; I'm sorry I didn't write down the names. Behind the aquarium is a program room that I imagine has a "back view" of the tank.

There are murals everywhere, and many interesting objects are displayed on top of the bookshelves. These include wooden constructions of various sorts, toys, just about anything but all interesting. The top of one shelf holds many LEGO constructions by kids; just guessing (because I did not see names displayed), but I think an unusual proportion of these were built by girls. I hope I'm right.

One large corner of the space is the "Tween Scene," for the upper elementary crowd. There are computers, a game station, and a couch, all in a pleasant corner space with windows. What a great idea to give them their own space, right at the age when they might be starting to pull away from the library and books in general.

There are more computers designated for age 12 and below, or adults accompanying children. A central space in the children's area is for the youngest patrons, with chairs sized for little ones and their accompanying adults.

When I pulled myself away from the children's area, I noticed that the Friends of the Library bookstore has created some bundles of five or six books on a related theme. Clever idea!

The rest of the library is just as creative and beautiful as the children's area, in an adult way. Perhaps this is explained by a quotation I saw on a statue of an open book, "Everybody needs beauty as well as places to read, study and enjoy in order to strengthen body and soul." The quotation is from Ellen Day, President of the Friends of Marathon County Public Library 1994-1996. I believe this building opened in 1994.

There is a large collection of framed art that can be borrowed for 2 months. The main floor of the adult area holds the fiction collection. The room is large and rounded at one end. Bookshelves are a friendly four shelves high, which is attractive and convenient. (When space allows, lower shelves create an open, lighter space.) The rounded end of the room holds various seating arrangements. One wall holds a collection of CDs in convenient pull-out shelves. There are many recorded books and a shelf of "Play-Away" devices, and, of course, plenty of DVDs.

A sign by the media return asks patrons to "Please check the content of your material." That simple request probably cuts down quite a bit on the need for phone calls, return visits, and general hassle!

Upstairs I found a large Teen Zone, which included a display of books bundled in twos, each bundle with a tag that begins "I want to read about..." and a brief description of the content. This is similar to what I saw last year in a NH library, where teen books were in larger bundles intended for vacation reading. The Teen Zone also includes fiction, non-fiction, Manga, graphic novels, six computers, a game station, and several chairs shaped like hands...the wrist forms a pedestal; you sit on the palm with the fingers at your back.

Non-fiction fills the space above adult fiction downstairs; the curved end of the space has assorted chairs, carrels, and study tables. There are also separate areas for good-sized collections of Spanish material and Hmong and other Southeast Asia material, books and media.

Other areas include a history/genealogy area with two micro-readers, a job search area, and an adult reference area with books, computers, large study tables, and wall maps of the world, the USA, and Wisconsin.

My visit here was extended by enjoyable chats with staff in children's, non-fiction, and at the circulation desk. I learned that new patrons are allowed to choose a gift: a tote bag, a pen and pencil set or ... a third thing that I have forgotten. I also learned that at least 300 home-bound patrons are served, ranging from a 12-year-old with a broken leg to a centenarian!

To learn more about this library, go to and

8/4/2014, car

Welcome to the irresistible children's area!