Sunday, September 14, 2014

64a. Dakota County, Farmington Library, revisit after remodeling

I visited Farmington in the summer of 2012, during the project that started this blog: visit all the MELSA* libraries. I have two memories from that first visit: First, some bookshelves were set diagonally, in a sort of fan shape, something I hadn't seen before. Second, I took out two books, left them on the roof of my car while I took a picture, and (apparently) had them fall off the car out in the street, where someone found them and returned them to the library--after they had been run over and totally wrecked. When I got home, I discovered that I owed Dakota County Libraries about $35.00--ouch!

This time, what a difference! The library has been closed for a while for upgrades, and what wonderful job they have done. To the right inside the door are New Books, DVDs, Wii games ("The case is empty: bring to service desk") and the teen collection of graphic fiction, teen fiction and non-fiction, and a broad variety of magazines, including some Archie comics. The Teen area is in a bright windowed area set off from the rest of the library by floor-to-ceiling transparent colored panels. A study room or meeting room beside this area has the same panels, providing a consistent look that is very light and bright in a sophisticated way. Seating in the Teen area includes upholstered chairs with reading arms, like the ones I see (and use) in study areas at the U of M.

Beyond the Teen area is the very lively children's area. True to the town name, Farmington, the new design includes two round "silos" for cozy reading and an alcove with two steps up, then a bench, designed with gray slatted wood that suggests a corn crib. The alcove appears that it could function as a reading area, seating for an audience, or a stage for small productions. The ceiling is "barn red." Between these two features is a large play area with comfortable seating for adults and, of course, windows. A children's restroom is located conveniently just beyond the kids' area. [And the adult restrooms and a drinking fountain are just beyond that.]

All of that was along the wall to the right as you enter the library. Along what I will call the back wall are more windows and a large study and browsing area for adults. There are assorted chairs and tables and a kiosk for downloading e-books. I noticed on one of the tables stacks of adult education catalogs and JobDig materials. This struck me as a good place for such material, right where a browsing person would be likely to find it.

Four study rooms located on the left wall have transparent colored doors, similar to the partitions in the Teen area. The computer area is set off from the adult book collection by a shelf of reference books. Twelve computer stations along the wall provide plenty of elbow room, and give the area a serious, workplace-like look and feel. There are also eight chairs with pivoting arms for laptops.

The staff person I spoke to turned out to be a "library tourist" also, and now I want to visit the Library of Congress, if only to get a personalized "Reader's Card"!

Outside, I noticed that an automated book return is now being used. "Push green button. 1 item at a time. Spine first." I wonder how that is working out? One change brought about by the automated return is clear from the second sign: "Newspaper carriers: Don't place newspapers in book return."

For more about this library, go to http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/libraries/HoursLocations/Farmington/Pages/default.aspx .

9/13/2014, car
 

Some exterior work is not quite finished;
notice that I caught the library "in its underwear,"
the new yellow foam insulation being installed.

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