First impressions? The location and the low "sheltered against the storm" design. Lake Menomin, ice and all. And the "Little Free Library" at the entrance to the parking lot, with its welcoming sign "Big and small, we love them all."
Inside, the first things I noticed were a teen area, complete with teens; a coffee station, with a suggested 25 cents donation per cup; and photos of about three dozen "1000 Books before Kindergarten" graduates. Barely in the door, and I see possibilities for a broad range of ages.
The children's area has four big armchairs facing a play space. Did I say big? Each of these chairs would easily hold an adult and a kid or two, perfect for a story. There are bins of animals and puppets, lots of puzzles, and the ubiquitous wooden train table. The front of the children's librarian's desk is metal, with a large collection of magnetic letters and numbers. The tops of picture book shelves are lined with bright-covered books on stands. A low table by a window has two computer keyboards, like Spring Valley. Here there are also a couple of portable phones to add fun to dramatic play.
The walls that face the lake are lined with angled windows to maximize the view. Each pair of windows creates a sort of alcove, and each alcove is a bit different. One has the low kids' table; the next has a low platform with carpet and cushions; others have various tables, chairs, carrels, and benches.
The Friends of the Library have a large shelf of books for sale. I found about a dozen like-new kids books for next Halloween. Their book sale is coming up in April.
A few other people-friendly features include a self-service fax machine, tissues and hand sanitizer on a table in the browsing area, a bin of free magazines, and a free charging station for electronic devices. And fortunately I paused and looked up on my way out, or I would have missed a handsome pyramidal ceiling of stained glass. It's no surprise that the library was bustling, it's so welcoming.
For more about this library, go to http://menomonielibrary.org/ or visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/menomonielibrary
A glimpse of Lake Menomin on the right.
A "Little Free Library" outside a mid-size public library.