Sunday, May 17, 2015

326 Niagara Falls NY Earl W Brydges Public Library

I have already decided that I will visit here again next year, because I could not do this library justice in my short visit. I was tired, it was raining, construction projects ruled the roads. But I had promised a class of third graders that I would make this visit. Each year I read Queen of the Falls to a third grade class in St. Paul. They love it! So here I was.

From the outside, the library looks like a prickly fortress. Inside, however, is a different story. I spent most of my time in the children's area, a long, rather narrow, space that is as light, bright, and attractive as any I've seen...at least, any that do not have the advantage of windows. The picture below gives just glimpse of the mural that welcomes visitors to this area and a teasing look at the wonders inside. An enormous papier mache bird hangs from the ceiling. Books abound, and I saw many that were not familiar to me. (I took notes, and they will soon be on my request list back home.) All along the left wall the shelves are five high, but the bottom shelf is not used--a blessing for those who shelve books! Above these shelves are large cabinets, some locked. I wonder what treasures wait inside?

There are tables of various sizes for users of various ages. A rocker with a large ring of couches and chairs indicates where storytime programs must be held. Separate girls and boys restrooms are clearly marked that they are for children and parents only.

I studied the rules of the children's area. A "traffic light" reminded kids that they could go ahead and use the space (green), might be warned (yellow), or would have to leave (red). A specific rule stated that it is NOT OK to run in and out of the area: "After leaving you may not come back in, so choose wisely." While I was absorbing this and picturing the behavior that must have led to it, a staff person offered help. I explained my purpose in being there, and asked if there is any site in town commemorating the first successful trip over the falls. There is, of course, and we found a second person who helped give directions. I was so tired at this point, however...and the rain, and the 2 1/2 hour drive to my resting place for the night...that I demurred with thanks. I will be back next year with plenty of time, I promise!

I spent a very brief time in the adult area, noting balconies that indicate two other levels, windows high on the walls, handsome shelves with copper ends (really nice), the diagonal positioning of the shelves that seems to add a burst of energy to the space, tall shelf spacing for ease of shelving larger non-fiction books, and unusual triangular columns of rough concrete. There is also a display of fire-fighting memorabilia, from horns to a really old wheeled contraption that I think is a pumper.

For more about this library, visit their web page, http://www.niagarafallspubliclib.org/ or see them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NiagaraFallsPublicLibrary?fref=ts. And check back next year to be sure that I keep my promise!

The "fortress" belies the friendly interior.

Just a peek at the mural and the interior of the children's space.


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