Tuesday, May 19, 2015

328 York Public Library, York, Maine

I've been trying for a couple of years to get myself from St. Paul to New Hampshire (family), then to York, on a day and at a time when the library is open. Finally, today, success--and worth the wait.

This handsome building dates to late 2001. From the lobby, I first chose to go up a half level. The Teen area is close to the entrance. It has tables and chairs, of course; some small round tables have very fancy paint jobs--done by teens, perhaps? There's a good collection of teen books, with new books highlighted, and a spinner of manga. Chess and Scrabble are available.

I enjoyed the display of buttons (sewing, not political); it made me think that I should get out my grandmother's button box, now in my keeping, to see what I have.

Across from the teen space is an area with a fireplace, a grandfather clock (almost standard in New England libraries), and two study rooms.

As we walked the perimeter of the room, my sister and I wondered if the handsome wooden furniture might have come from the older library. Chatting with staff later, we learned that our guess was wide of the mark; the chairs, tables, ends of the stacks, and study carrels are the work of a local woodworker. I have seen this sort of thing before, where the most handsome woodwork in a library is local and reflects care and a well-justified pride. Stacks and shelves are often labeled as "a gift from..." or "donated by...," signs of community support of the library. Some shelves have been "adopted" by library patrons who keep them in good order.

The far end of the adult area is a "living room" with comfortable chairs and the periodicals nearby for browsing. There are at least 12 public computers. Near a librarian's desk are reference works and books of Maine history.

Next I headed downstairs to see the children's area. The lower level also houses the Book Nook for an ongoing book sale and two meeting rooms. One of those rooms had a display of very creative work from the second annual York Middle School "Trashion" show, clothing created from recycled material. The displays here showed major creativity, a lot of hard work, and care in production.

On this day, the Old York History Display featured antique musical instruments, including violins, bagpipes, and a Melodeon.

The first item that greets a visitor to the children's area is a large playhouse, currently set up to be used as a florist shop; this is a great chance for creative play. More creativity is shown in the displays on top of the book shelves, including wonderful creations made from Legos or recycled material. A Craft Area to the side has a hard floor, tables and chairs, sink and cabinets. Directions about leaving material in this area and not taking things from the cabinets suggests that at least some of the time there may be "passive programming" for the school-age crowd.

At the end, under the adult's "living room" area, kids have a couple of sunny areas with cushioned window seats. Next is a "quiet time corner" that provides "a comfy, peaceful place to read or be read to." Close to the children's librarian's office and desk are a couple of wooden train sets on tables and other playthings. A sign asks "Keep the trains and toys in this area. Pick up before you leave."

Finally, there is an almost life sized paper mache elephant that I could not resist--I had to take a picture!

One of my sisters walked around outside and reported a path through gardens to a pond.

 For more about this library, go to http://www.york.lib.me.us/ or check it out at https://www.facebook.com/YorkPublicLibrary?fref=ts.

5/19/2015  car, with Mary and Jean

I took this picture to give a hint of the length of the building.

The elephant!

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