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 http://www.bethlehemlibrary.org/page1.html and https://www.facebook.com/BethlehemLibraryNH.