Monday, May 25, 2015

337 Defiance Ohio Public Library

There are many ways to expand an outgrown Carnegie library, usually by building extensions that to a greater or lesser degree carry on the architectural design of the original. I've heard of one that basically wrapped the original building in glass--must see that one some day! Defiance, perhaps living up to the town name, took a different approach, bookending the original building with two stark white cubes that could not be more different from the original. And in my opinion, it works. See the first and third pictures below.

Once inside, I experienced some disorientation, so I hope someone will help out with comments if I make any significant errors here. On the main floor of the old building, to the right of the door, are the periodicals and papers for browsing, media including recorded books and adult Playaways. On the far side of this space, looking out toward the river, is a fiction area. Free-standing wooden bookcases are four shelves high; those against the wall are six shelves high, and those below the windows facing the river, three. Non-fiction stacks are on a mezzanine level. A half-round room with a river view holds historical material and photographs.

A short flight of stairs marked with Mylar streamers leads to a teen area. This area is exclusively for kids in grades 6 through 12, with library staff supervision, from 3-7 Monday-Thursday, 3-6 Friday, and 10-2 Saturday. (Perhaps this changes for the summer?)

The new building to the right appears to house archives and genealogical material; it was closed when I was there. I was offered a chance to see it but opted not to.

The lower level of the new building to the left of the entrance houses the children's area. The original red sandstone walls now provide part of the interior wall in some places, to very pleasing effect. [And this is where I feel a bit confused, because I know there were offices and support services down here, too. This blogging goes better when I can keep up with the entries on the same day I visit.]

A room set up with a table, sink, and basic craft supplies invites kids to "Stop in and make a craft." There is a large space with picture books and toys and a sign on the wall inviting caregivers to bring children for a "Play Day" here or at the branch libraries nearby. Apparently there is a revolving collection of toys so that some things available for play day will vary from week to week. There are two computers for kids to use. A sign makes it clear that children six and under must be supervised by a caregiver at all times, while those seven through  nine must have a caregiver in the building.

Two features of the J area of this space are the purple tendrils painted on the walls, and the display of American Girl dolls on the top shelf (see picture below). I was told that the dolls are all of the historical characters from the American Girls series books, and are provided by the Friends of the Library.

When I left the library, my third and last stop for the day, I took a refreshing walk on a path that took me across a bridge and through an extensive park. When I returned I was so taken with the late afternoon light on the red sandstone walls that I had to take the close-up picture you may see below.

For more about this library, visit its website at or its Facebook page at

5/22/2015   car

The Carnegie building and one of the newer gray "bookends"

A sculpture of children reading

Another view of the Carnegie building with the right-hand "bookend,"
which makes an effective backdrop for the flowering tree

The purple tendrils and (along the top of the right-hand shelf) the American Girl dolls.

Red sandstone in all its variegated glory

A clearer view of one of the new additions

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