Monday, May 25, 2015

335 Ashtabula Ohio Public Library

I knew I would like this library as soon as I saw the announcement that the teens' summer reading program would kick of with sidewalk art and root beer floats! Yum! [Well, OK, yes, I DO like all libraries. And I like root beer floats. Your point?] Also, it's a 1901 Carnegie building.

An upcoming addition will just about double (or depends who you talk to) the floor space here. Naming rights are available, if a reader of this post is sitting around with spare cash and looking for a good place to use it! I hope to return in 2017 (or late in 2016) to see the changes.

 A clever use of space is shown by the shallow shelves that line the walls between windows. Just big enough, they provide more shelf space while allowing the most walking space possible. A sign suggests that you "Revisit long forgotten romance authors," and lists six names. A friendly reminder...or a way to stretch the collection by urging the circulation of older books? Either way, good job. Is it working?

Perhaps my favorite feature is the book- and reading-related quotations posted on the end of every shelf I saw. Top shelves in stacks are about 7 feet up; a set of rolling steps is "for staff use only." Actually, I saw some even higher shelves in one area, holding bound copies of Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report from the 70s up by the ceiling.

There are some study tables that look venerable; rather than simple rectangles, they are shaped with a slight arc on the short ends. I can't recall ever seeing any quite like them.

The print reference section is larger than many. It includes EPA and Superfund Depositories (?), and large sets of books, like Poetry Criticism (98 volumes), Short Story Criticism (122 volumes), Contemporary Black Biography (71 volumes), Contemporary Authors (278 volumes, plus 75 volumes of the New Revision series), plus Who's Who for 2005, 06, and 07, Who's Who Among African Americans, Women in World History, and more. There is also a shelf of Chilton automotive manuals. Whew! I bet there is a story behind this reference collection. Perhaps someone will leave a comment about it.

A windowless door marked "Stairwell for Employee Use Only--Caution--Potential Hazard--Open With Care" opens outward; the sign is enhanced by a cartoon drawing of a person being knocked over and presumably down the stairs. Might inspire a library-based murder mystery!

A unique pay phone bears this sign: "Please READ instructions before using pay phone. We are not responsible for lost money." I didn't study it in detail, but it did look tricky, and I've never seen another like it.

A small area with upholstered chairs has shelves labeled "Classic Literature," but I spotted Pilgrim's Progress on the regular fiction shelves. Misplaced, perhaps?

OK, now you are wondering about services for kids, right? They are located downstairs, as is common in Carnegie buildings. This level is partly below grade, but it is lightened by large windows. The space is loaded with artwork by kids from an after-school program called Strive for Success. You do great work, kids!

All of the usual materials are here; the ones I jotted in my notebook include recorded book kits, lots of series books, shallow shelves along the walls (like upstairs), World Book for 2013 and 2014 (that's unusually up-to-date for a small library, by the way), Parent and Child Together bags, lots of games that are labeled as if to circulate. (I wonder if they do? I meant to ask, but forgot.) An open area by the picture books is probably the home of story hour for the little ones. The meeting room / program room was once the bookmobile garage. Debbie L told me that it's crowded with even 50 people, so the library really needs its upcoming enlargement.

 For more about this library, go to and check it out on Facebook at

5/22/2015, car



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