Friday, March 27, 2015

313. Virginia Public Library, Virginia, MN

A long jaunt north to Virginia, MN, started my day. The weather looked a bit iffy in St. Paul and there were some flurries along the way, but soon the sky cleared and it was a beautiful but chilly day to collect a few libraries.
Virginia's library looks as if it could be a Carnegie library, and the date is right, 1912, but no, it was built by the town without Carnegie help. Wikipedia says that the population was about 8700 in 2010; a brochure I saw near the entrance says that the library has 8670 registered borrowers, so I will assume that some of them live in neighboring communities! At any rate, with 93,652 visits last year, it's clear that this library is central to the community.
The Carnegie look is obvious inside from the large, windowed spaces to right and left, each with an impressive brick fireplace. The space to the left as you enter is the kids area, with three easy chairs, lots of art on the walls and mobiles hanging overhead, puzzles, and soft toys. A first for me was to see picture books labeled "F" for "First Readers," not the usual "E" for easy. I actually think neither of these designations is quite right, since picture books are often not at children's reading levels; they are intended for an adult to read to a child. Children's books are marked "Y" for "Young reader" rather than the usual "J" for Juvenile or Junior. And many books have what I believe to be Accelerated Reader labels. This was especially striking, since I had just read an article about whether libraries should use "levels" like this. [I've been unable to find the article again; I will keep looking and add a link when I locate it.] [Found it: ]
Books for teen readers are labelled with the familiar "YA" for Young Adult.
I liked seeing dictionaries on many of the computer desks!
To the right as you enter is the adult area of the library, with armchairs, study tables, and fiction / non-fiction stacks. I noticed a lot of Westerns, and paperbacks are shelved on spinners.
The service / reference desk is directly ahead as you enter. At first it looked as if Reference books were sequestered behind the librarian, but she assured me that the stacks behind her are open to the public, and hold YA as well as Reference books.
The library sells very nice book bags at a very reasonable price. I got the blue and white one that says "Virginia Public Library." Now I need to meet someone named Virginia so I can gift it!
To learn more about this library, go to, look for it on Facebook at or check out their blog at
3/26/2015   car


1 comment:

  1. Ellen--Thank you for visiting our library. It is a pleasure to "see" our library through your eyes. --Susan Hoppe, Reference Librarian, Virginia (MN) Public Library


Comments are welcomed, and I will generally respond to them. Please be tasteful; comments that are in poor taste will be deleted.
Sorry about the "verification" step; I added it after a rash of spammish comments.