Friday, May 15, 2015

321 Morris Area Public Library, Morris IL

I keep seeing things I've never seen a Ferris wheel book display. The current library director told me that it has been here "forever"--that it was "old" when she was a child. (She's not all that old, but I get the point.) It's a clever way to bring attention to books, and may be one of a kind.

A story room with murals (see picture below) features a painting of a former librarian, Ethel Harrod Gregg (1908-1998, Head Librarian 1957-1975). Not only is the story room named for her, she also gave the library her collection of 70 Beatrix Potter figurines, which are displayed in a cabinet.

I like the shelving here, two flat shelves and one sloping, which allows for lots of face-out book displays. The littlest kids have a train table (a dad and his son were having a wonderful time when I was here), a Duplo table, and other toys, while the school age kids have tables and chairs just their size. Eric Litwin, author of the original Pete the Cat books, will visit Morris Library on May 17, and the library is ready! There are large pictures in the windows facing the sidewalk, almost visible in the first picture; there is a large (playhouse sized) plywood "Pete the Cat" house with button tiles on the roof; and a variety of preliteracy activities are underway. One of my favorites is a chance for kids to vote yes or no on the question "Are you wearing buttons?"

The adult area of the library has windows all around. A couple of murals appear to represent the history of Morris. The Pamela J. Wilson Adult Reading Room provides comfortable-looking chairs, a couch, and--my favorite--newspapers on sticks! Like another library visited recently, there is a large card catalog, but here it is used to file obituaries, a project undertaken by volunteers.

The teen area, at the far end of the adult area, is near a window wall, and has a carpeted "bench" with bright cushions along the windows. There are a few very brightly-colored upholstered pieces, and a pair of study tables for when the kids get serious. Hanging overhead is a fake "chandelier" which identifies the space as special.

For more about this library (I bet they'll post some pictures from that author visit), go to or check them out at

A glimpse from the sidewalk of a reading garden.
The lilacs were especially sweet-smelling.

There was once a 1913 Carnegie library in Morris; this was the original circulation desk. The old building was razed, but the library was able to purchase this desk for the centennial in 2013.

I didn't see Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, but it would be right at home here!

Picture book shelving with lots of sloping display space

Activities to build excitement for Litwin's visit

The image of Librarian Gregg still presides over the eponymous story room.


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