Sunday, February 1, 2015

306. MORE -- Balsam Lake, WI, Public Library

The town of Balsam Lake seemed even more quiet than one would expect for a Saturday in mid-winter. No surprise seemed that everyone was out on the frozen lake, admiring vintage snowmobiles and watching races! But the library was ready to show The BoxTrolls Movie soon after I arrived, and it appeared that a few patrons were on hand for the show. Perhaps that's where the two teen girls were headed as I walked down Main Street to return to my car.

I'm glad I arrived before the movie, and my timing was fortunate in another respect: On February 2, no matter what the groundhog does, the library will close for about a week in order to box up the collection and install new shelving. I guess I will need to plan a revisit to see the new look!

The colorful children's area is highlighted by two wooden "trees" covered with plush hand puppets; these puppets can even be checked out, which is very cool. There is a computer with a brightly colored keyboard on a low table. The library participates in the "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" program. I liked a poster that answered the question "Can you really read that many books before kindergarten?" by breaking down how many that would be each day. Looked at that way, it seems very manageable. This is reinforced by a Dr. Seuss quotation painted on the wall, "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." Indeed.

There are three computers on a counter with tall stools for seating. A study table, easy chair, and coffee setup by the windows, close to the newspapers and periodicals, invites adults to sit for a while.

Good luck with the packing and reshelving project. I'll be back the next time I'm in that corner of Wisconsin!

For more about this library, go to and check out their Facebook page at

1/31/2015,  car

305. MORE -- Luck, WI, Public Library

As I drove into the tiny town of Luck, it seemed like the basic downtown: two or three blocks of commercial buildings, a a few businesses on the cross streets. I parked a couple of blocks from the address of the library and walked the rest of the way, and when I came to corner, the Luck Library and Museum building blew me away! Compare the two pictures below, first the current building, then the former library building, now a dance studio. Evidence once again that towns want libraries!

The museum was closed, but a display in the shared lobby told me something I hadn't known about Luck: it was the home of a product familiar to almost any child of the last century. Scroll down to the last picture to learn what this was.

You can't really tell from the picture, but the library has a couple of bowed windows. Near the first of these is a browsing area for adults, with easy chairs and a rocker, periodicals, newspapers, and a reference collection.

There are about a half dozen public computers. The shelving is attractive wood.

Another bowed window is in the children's area; this one has a child-height counter along the curve, with a number of chairs. The collection is modest, but includes many children's classics. I know from my library work that these books (Farley's "Black Stallion" books, for example) are still popular. And of course, children and adults have ready access to all the books of the MORE library group. Also, there is a collection of recorded books for children and teens that looked large relative to the overall collection.

I enjoyed sharing jokes with the librarian; I think this is the first time in my travels that I've been gifted with a joke--one that I plan to share at work this afternoon!

For more about this library, go to, and check out their Facebook page at

1/31/2015,  car