Thursday, January 15, 2015

300. Duluth, Minnesota, Mt. Royal Branch

This library held a surprise that reminded me of Albany, MN. Although Mt. Royal branch is in a shopping center and Albany shares other civic space, the commonality is that you arrive at a very ordinary doorway, walk straight ahead, and glass doors welcome you into a surprising small library. A window wall, not obvious from the outside, fills the space with light, even on a rather gray day. The ceiling, with exposed mechanicals, is painted white, and the walls are brightly colored, creating a very inviting space.

I liked seeing the bright yellow cart with its signs "Please leave materials to be shelved on this cart. Thank you." and "Please return magazines here."

Paperback fiction is shelved on spinners, making it easier to shelve but perhaps harder to find a specific title. This separation also keeps the regular shelves neater, without paperbacks sliding back or falling forward. (Voice of experience.)

The shelves are quite full, but it seems that an effort is being made to avoid using the very lowest shelf; as a tall person, I appreciate that. I had to ask about children's non-fiction, and a librarian (Julie, I believe) showed me where they have their own shelves next to the adult collection. While looking for these books, I had spotted parenting books that surprised me by having "j" on the spine; for example, Diaper-free Baby, j 649.6. I haven't seen that kind of labeling anywhere else. I assume that, for consistency, it must be the same at Duluth Central and at the Duluth West branch, but I didn't notice it in those places. Perhaps, if she reads this, Julie can explain this in a comment on this post? Please?

A large corner by the windows holds the picture books along with a train table and a play kitchen. Posters remind parents to Share Stories, Share Sounds, Share Playtime, and Share Books.

There is a modest teen area with seating like a large corner booth in a diner.

I have a warm spot for small branch libraries that surprise me in good ways--like this one!

For more about this library, go to or

1/14/2015   car

The unassuming exterior, between pizza and haircuts

A glimpse of the bright interior,
with a dollhouse displayed on the right.


  1. Thanks for the nice comments, Ellen. The parenting books with the "j" on them were part of a parenting collection that was shelved in the Youth Services area at the Main Library that has been phased out. We still have some of the books with the old labeling.

  2. The parenting collection still exists at the Main Library and is shelved in a separate section of Youth Services.

  3. Thanks, Nancy. I noticed the parenting collection at the Main Library, but I didn't notice books with the "j" until I got to Mount Royal.


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