Thursday, July 23, 2015

126a. Staples Public Library, Staples, MN

I used to (about 40 years ago) spend some time in a trailer on a lake near Staples. But roads have been enlarged and re-routed, and I'm not even sure of the name of the lake (possibly Crook Neck), so I can't claim to have any connection here, really. When I got to Staples I had been on the road close to 12 hours; this was my eighth stop, a record for me for a day of "library collecting." Perhaps that explains...something.

I found the library without trouble, but nothing looked familiar. Hmmm. Either this was in fact a new library, or I was mistaken when I told the man in Wadena that I had visited all of the Great River libraries. [See the Wadena post if you need the context.] I took a few pictures outside. Inside, nothing struck me as familiar...except a three-panel fabric wall hanging. Hadn't I seen that before?

I walked around and noted newspapers on sticks (I always get a kick out of these), six computers ("Please use print preview..."), "Free Magazines, Help Yourself," "Rules of Behavior" posters (reasonable rules, but not often seen posted like this).

I continued to the kids side. A wall, about 8 feet tall, separates the adult and kid areas, and is used for displays. On this day, half of the space was devoted to birds, the other half to posters and books under the heading Road Trip USA. There are two large (4 or 5 foot diameter) beanbag chairs. Picture books are labeled "Easy Books," which always sort of bothers me, because many picture books are not easy in concept or reading level. But almost everyone uses this terminology, so what the heck...

A nearly-round room beside the service desk is called "the roundhouse," picking up on a train theme. Staples is very much a railroad town.

I talked to a couple of staff and learned that the library is about 5 years old--and I've only been making these visits for three years. When I got home I looked through my early entries and sure enough: this was a re-visit, hence the 126a designation on this entry. I had even taken almost the same pictures. It must be that 355 libraries are at the limit of what my memory can handle! I don't regret the stop at all, partly because when I tried to buy one of their attractive book bags, I was not allowed to; instead, one was given to me. Thanks again!

For more about this library, visit

7/21/2015, car

355. Wadena City Library, Wadena, MN

The Wadena City Library is taking the "Read to the Rhythm" summer reading program theme to heart with a drum set, or parts of a couple of drum sets, on display--safely out of reach on top of shelves, fortunately.

On entering the library, the children's area is to the right. There are computers, a large flat screen TV with game controllers, picture books in bins and shelves and easy readers in bins. A large tree on the wall has green tissue paper leaves representing participants in the "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" program. There is a "nest" of pillows and cushions with a book rack, and a very large, fancy dragon under a table.

The other side of the library is for adults, of course. I noticed a way of labeling fiction shelves that is new to me. First the guide letters for the shelf are listed, followed by some key names that will be found on that shelf. For example:
< a few others>

There is a browsing area, and reference shelves topped with an impressive array of community service materials. A small room in one corner is labeled "AV Booth." When I peeked in, all I noticed was a microfilm reader. I was impressed to see that ones first three pages of copies or print-outs on a given day are free, additional ones are 15 cents. This is a very generous and rare policy.

Now let's segue to my next visit. I got chatting with a young man on the staff, telling him about my project and the blog. He wondered if I had visited the library in Staples, MN, which I would pass on my way home from Wadena. I told him I was pretty sure I had; it's part of the Great River Regional Library System, and I believed that I've visited all of the GRRL branches. But I just wasn't sure, and I couldn't come up with a mental picture of it. And he said they have a new library.'ll have to read the next post to get the rest of the story.
For more about this library, visit

7/21/2015, car

I saw signs for Professor Marvel's Musical Magic Show
at several Kitchigami branch libraries.

354. Park Rapids Area Library, Park Rapids, MN

First let me say that it's been a long time since I've driven down a Main Street with two lanes (one each direction) of parallel parking in the middle of the street and diagonal parking at the sides. I don't recall where I've seen this before, but it's been a long time...and it takes some getting used to!

I escaped Main Street and found the library. To the left of the entrance is a kids area. Good news: It was full of kids! Not-so-good news, this meant I couldn't take pictures. Oh, well. The corner and most of the east wall have cushioned window seats and there is a nifty rolling storage unit with a stack of round cushions, sort of like upscale Girl Scout sit-upons.

I walked into the stacks area and saw a sign on the end of one shelf that asked if I am looking for something, then lists several dozen frequently-sought topics with their Dewey numbers. In another area of the stack shelves I noticed that a bottom shelf says "Place items here for reshelving" with a bright yellow background. It's interesting to me to see all the various ways libraries encourage patrons to not try to put items back on the shelf. I'm not sure any of them work! [I believe that patrons think they are helping. And of course, if they do get it right, they are. However...

A sign a few feet in front of the service desk asks respectfully, "If we are with someone, please wait here."

Good-looking art is displayed on the walls, some of it for sale. I assume it is by local artists, and it tells me that Park Rapids is home to some talent.

More than many libraries, Park Rapids intrigued me with signs.

  • On a table in the periodical and newspaper browsing area: "Attention! It is not okay to steal magazines and newspapers or to rip pages and articles out of them. If you are caught doing this you will be prosecuted."
  • Nearby: "Please fold newspapers when finished."
  • A kinder, gentler message on a table with an assortment of books: "These books have the 'I've been sitting on the shelf' blues. Check one out today!
A large quilt by a local quilting club is on display; in the Fall it will be donated to the Friends of the Library and raffled as a fundraiser.

One corner of the library is designated for teens, though a study room reached through this area is "for the use of all." I like the rack of college literature labeled "Help yourself"--it seems to me that I don't see college brochures displayed in libraries very often.

One final sign as I headed out, with a reference to the summer reading program theme of Read to the Rhythm: "Read to the rhythm by changing the beat--try a different style of writing than you've read before. You might find a new favorite." This, and the books with the "sitting on the shelf blues" are the memories I'll hold of the Park Rapids Library.

For more about this library, visit Kitchigami Regional Library System at

7/21/2015, car

Sorry about the poor angle; this sign is, of course, much more legible than it appears here.

Isn't this a neat way to paint the wall above the service desk?

353. Walker Public Library, Walker, MN

This is probably a good place to mention how much I enjoyed the driving part of this trip. This area of Minnesota reminds me of the lakes region of New Hampshire, though on a larger scale. And with the blue sky and puffy white clouds, every lake I drove past, and every glimpse of a lake through trees, simply made me smile!

This is my third Walker library, in a way. First was the old, subterranean Walker library in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Second, the shiny new Walker library that opened about a year ago on an adjacent site in Uptown. And now, the library in the town of Walker, MN.

On the right as you enter is a general purpose room with a sign indicating it is reserved for programs on Wednesday mornings. On this Tuesday it was being used by a patron with a laptop--a nice large, quiet space.

Continuing in, I saw five computers, a display of new books, and a browsing area with chairs, tables, and periodicals. Fiction shelves are on the left, non-fiction and large print books on the right. I saw a spinner holding some kids' series books, and happened to see volumes 5, 6, and 7 of the Harry Potter series shelved with young adult books, not children's. I've read the series, and shelving these here seems totally appropriate--though I assume younger kids can check them out if they wish.

I noticed four types of language-learning materials in non-fiction: Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, and Ojibwe; not the first four I'd see in the Twin Cities, but appropriate to the region, I'm sure.

The corner for the youngest patrons is cozy, with two carpeted steps for seating, some big pillows, games and puzzles, and a display of animal books. A poster with a bear in a super-hero cape advises "Penworthy Bear Says Be a Hero, Read!" You've got that right, Penworthy!

For more about this library, visit Kitchigami Regional Library System at

7/21/2015, car

Many of us would like to be remembered as readers.

Why, oh why, can't we say this at the library where I work?
The basic elements of kids' library space: a place to sit, a stuffed animal to hold,
magnetic letters to move around, and some books!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

352. Margaret Welch Memorial Library, Longville, MN

According to Wikipedia, the population of Longville was 156 at the 2010 census. And according to the library staff, that makes it the smallest town in Minnesota with an official library. For a small library, it has a lot of interesting features. How about a life-sized statue of Gandalf, carved by a local craftsman, watching over a corner of the children's area? How about two old-fashioned platform rockers flanking a cabin-type heating stove? A carved fish-mobile hanging in a corner of the adult area? Or a few albums on the top of the bookshelves; I didn't take them down, but I could see that one is titled "Petal Pushers Garden Club 1997 - 2005." I bet that holds some memories!

A rack holds child-sized life vests that can be checked out. (I think I saw something similar in my last stop, in Pine City, but this is the first place it made it into my notes.) A nice feature for families visiting this resort area: no excuse for the little ones to be unsafe.

The children's area has brightly painted shelves, a couple of cookie sheets with magnetic words, and a nice glider/bench seat with a loon and tree design, very inviting. And books and media too, of course.

A set of small plaques honor the Hero of the Year from 2009 to 2014.

For more about this library, visit Kitchigami Regional Library System at

7/21/2015, car

Hero of the Year plaques on the left; periodicals on the right;
and kiddie life vests in the center.

Gandalf presides over the bright children's area.

A corner of the the library

351. Pine River Public Library, Pine River, MN

I was particularly looking forward to this visit because...look at the pictures...I expected to meet a Library Cat. The sign outside was promising; the anterooms by the emergency exits were promising. But, sadly, Browser was not in residence when I visited. The librarian explained that there was some construction going on that made Browser uncomfortable, so he was having an extended stay...elsewhere. But he does exist. I learned that he is a penpal with Elsie the Library Cat in St. Helena, CA, with whom I am Facebook friends. And the library knows how to capitalize on having a library cat: I now own a Browser T-shirt, Browser tote bag, two Browser magnets, and a book about rescued cats, part of the price of which will go to some cat charity (I forget which). I even got some significant steps on my step counter, rare on a "collecting trip," because I wanted all that loot, which meant I had to find an ATM.

OK, the visit wasn't all about Browser. Let's see...  There is a small Minnesota History Reference collection. A children's game computer. Two tall cafĂ©-type tables with seats to match, one set up for checkers, one for chess. They put newspapers on sticks--I always get a kick when I see that, remembering my first library job. Putting papers on those sticks is as tricky as it looks! The library overall gave an impression of "nooks and crannies" with various seating to suit various patrons.

The children's area is a long, narrow room with the wall painted to look like sky, clouds, trees, and a white picket fence. There is also a large panel that looks like a flowering garden; I think this might be one of those wallpaper murals. [I had one of a mountain in my dining room a long time ago.] This room holds picture books and easy readers. The J collection is right outside it, near the game computer.

I have met two library cats in my travels. You can meet Page by checking out my entry for Cazenovia, NY and Louie, in Freedom, NH. And Moosilauke, NH, now has a library dog!

For more about this library, visit Kitchigami Regional Library System at

7/21/2015, car

Browser is part of the library sign.

When in residence, Browser has two small rooms near the exit doors,
with places to climb and hang out.

350. Pequot Lakes Community Library, Pequot Lakes, MN

Pequot Lakes Community Library was not on my list when I set out in the morning. But, when I was driving from Brainerd to Pine River, I spotted the universal library sign Universal Library Signbeside the road, and I just had to check it out. What I didn't know at the time was that this is, in fact, a community library, not part of the Kitchigami region. You really should follow the link below to read the story of this 11-year-old library. It has a collection of about 19,000 items and an all-volunteer staff of 30 serving over 2000 library card holders.

A popular poster asks "Can you recommend a good book? Tell others about it." Many brief reviews surround this question. There are also a number of lists suggesting that if you like <this sort of book>, try <this author>. The adults have a cozy living room area centered on an artificial fireplace.

Creativity in the kids area starts with an entrance framed with branches, as you can see in the second picture below. There is an enormous floor cushion, perhaps 5 x 8 feet, which I'm told is a very popular place to flop and read. One wall display is of papers by kids completing the prompt "_____ is a hero because _____," usually accompanied by a picture. There is also a display of summer reading program T-shirts dated 2008 to 2011, plus two that are probably earlier than 2008.

Book and toy sets that are popular at many libraries are not in plastic bags here. Nope, they are in hand-made fabric bags! You can see them hanging on a post in the fourth picture. In the background you'll see canvas messenger bags that hold sets of three related books. The story corner has a ring of floor cushions surrounded by a ring of child-size seats--each with a stuffed animal sitting on it. There are picture books, board books, and children's fiction and non-fiction. When I was there, there was an impressive display of Lewis Carroll items to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland; someone in town is a fan, I would guess.

The adult area holds six computers and two hexagonal study tables. A separate large room was being used for a book sale, and I found a nice stack of books that have been put away for Halloween treats.

There is something about the interior woodwork, as well as a bench outside and the shutters and sign on the building, that makes me suspect that they are all from one source, Timeless Design Builders. Google "timeless design builders" and see if you agree. Or, if you know, leave a comment!

For more about this library, and you really should want to know more, visit .

7/21/2015, car

Notice the shutters, bench, and sign.
Looking into the children's area past the left half of the entry branches

Gigantic floor pillow and display of T-shirts

Handmade book bags and a pair of old desks

The story corner is ready for young visitors .

349. Brainerd Public Library, Brainerd, MN

Time for a monthly road trip to collect some libraries! The library where I work will have a new building soon, and someone who knows of this blog suggested that I "must" see the Brainerd library. So I planned a visit to some of the towns in the Kitchigami Regional Library area and headed out very early on a beautiful cool morning.

The children's area starts with a Smart Play Spot, a joint effort of the library and the Minnesota Children's Museum. These Smart Play Spots are popping up all over the state. This one has a "motor boat," picnic table, "charcoal grill," farmer's market, and a "garden" formed of three brown cylindrical cushions that fit into a wooden framework. Sturdy wooden shapes with vegetable pictures and words can be pushed (i.e., planted) between the cushions. On the wall behind the cookout area and garden is a nice mural of a natural scene. Nearby is a wooden panel with eight doors, each closed with a different real fastener or latch. Pictures inside reward the child who works the latch to open a door (third picture below).

At the other end of the children's area is more scope for dramatic play, including a kitchen and two ways to play with Duplo(T) blocks, the usual table and a series of baseplates mounted vertically. I've seen this vertical mounting in a couple of other libraries, and it strikes me as a way to encourage creativity and "doing it a different way." The ends of two bookshelves have mirrors, one regular mirror and one "fun house" type.

The second picture below shows a rounded brick wall; keep scrolling down to see what is inside that curve. Beside this wonderful story area is a puppet theater with three openings with curtains. A rack behind the theater holds puppets of many kinds, ready for a show--or for three shows at once!

You'll also find several pictures of signs I like in the kids area, especially the one about picking up after yourself and the rhyming list of how we (should) behave in a library.

The final picture shows the beginning of an outdoor space that is under construction, which explains why I saw a concrete delivery truck enter the parking lot when I arrived!

 The service desk is graced with several suspended light fixtures made with thin slices of Brazilian agate, accented with smaller pieces of Lake Superior agate. There is also a stained glass tree above the library entryway, made with glass and agate. The lights and tree were made by a local artist, Greg Rosenberg. The staff kindly gave me a brochure about these features. If you visit Brainerd, be sure you see these one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

The service desk has a couple of large windows into the circulation workspace. I was amused to see that the checkout station is called the "Kitchicat Express Self Checkout."

A browsing area for adults has a circle of chairs along with racks of magazines and papers. One bay of the periodical shelving is labeled "Crow Wing energized--making healthy choices essential." This headed a display of gardening books when I was there; I assume that the display changes seasonally.

Windows line both sides of the long adult space, with varied seating. Fiction stacks are on the left, non-fiction on the right, with six four-person study tables marching down the center. The teen area is straight ahead at the far end. A reference area includes a "sight machine" to magnify text, a microfilm reader with a vertical screen, two catalog computers, and a desk and office for the reference librarian. About 10 computers are available for patron use.

I'll end with two signs I enjoyed reading:

"Polite cell phone use permitted.
Where? Lobby  Meeting Rooms (ask at desk)
Turn ringers off
Respect your neighbors"

"No need to climb the walls (cute graphic)
If you can't find what you want
just ask the librarian."

For more about this library, visit Kitchigami Regional Library System at

7/21/2015, car

What's inside that curve? Keep looking!

Wonderful latches to manipulate

A complete kitchen and a Duplo table

Duplo works vertically, too!

How about three puppet shows at once?
There are enough puppets to perform just about any story.

A cozy story place inside the curve

Reminders to caregivers about helping children get ready to read

I gentle reminder; I didn't ask how well it works!

Another gentle reminder. Having it rhyme is a nice touch.

Looking out from the children's area to the future outdoor space

Sunday, July 19, 2015

81c. Arlington Hills, St. Paul

I visited this library on opening day in May 2014. What I learned on that visit, which was the grand opening of the community center and the library, is: Opening day is not a good time to visit a library for blogging purposes. At least, not for me.

 So, I returned yesterday on a day without music and dancing and food and speeches and what-all. Heading from the shared lobby to the library, I first saw a glass-walled room, the Community Learning Room. It seemed to be set up for a computer class, and a group of young men were gathered around. A back corner of the room seemed to have some play equipment, suggesting accommodations for students with small children.

Past the Community Learning Room and around to the right is a large, bright children's area. There's a couch and two small tables of different heights, with chairs to match. There are four computers and two self-checkout stations. At the other end of this space, beyond the J and picture book collections, is an area for learning through play. Heavy plywood panels are connected to form an abstract sort of house, with interactive opportunities on each side of each wall. [The bad news is, although I got permission to take pictures of some of the features of this space, I couldn't do it. The good news is, I couldn't do it because when I went back with my camera, a bunch of kids were playing!]

St. Paul's Summer Reading Program is called SPARK! and emphasizes being active. Some ideas on the wall include "help make dinner, "ride a bike," "make a LEGO animal," and "say 'Hi' to a librarian." Counting activities and nursery rhymes are in several languages. One of my favorite items in this area is a device for measuring height, which is attached to the wall.

There are a dozen computers for adults, and a browsing/reading area by the windows. Periodicals are displayed in crisp white racks on a large free-standing pedestal. Media in this area partially separates the adult and teen areas. I noticed that children's media is here, not in the kids area.

The "stacks" area includes three study tables and a long shelf, all equipped for laptop use. The room is enhanced by art from the Washington Technology Secondary School. A few special collections include "Countries and States" with  some travel books and a series of books about, well, countries and states; collections of books for English Language Learners and New Adult Readers; and books in Spanish and Hmong, reflecting the population of the community.

As I was leaving I spotted a notice asking for youth performers for an event coming up in August. Those selected will be paid $50 (to be split among members of a group as appropriate) and will get T-shirts. Nice!

I will return and hope for better luck with pictures--I really want to show you this "house" structure!

For more information, see the St. Paul website at or visit the Arlington Hills Community Center Facebook page, at The library is an integral part of the community center.

7/18/2015, car (could have taken bus, but was on my way somewhere else)

Friday, July 17, 2015

23a. Carver County, Chaska Library

This library was one of the first I visited, three years ago, when I set out to visit all of the 100+ MELSA libraries in one summer. Back then I would simply take an exterior picture, check out a book (just because I could), and head to the next library. I rarely talked to staff, and I often forgot to take a notebook or pencil. Today in Chaska I talked to several friendly staff people, including one in the lobby that leads to other civic services and I got permission to take a couple of interior pictures.

In the lobby I saw a "VFW Flag Retirement Container," a very nice touch. I expect that very few people know how to deal respectfully with a damaged or soiled flag, so this serves as an educational and practical service.

As is often the case these days, my first impression is of computers--22 of them, by my count. Some people are concerned about computers seeming to be emphasized in libraries these days, with their "front and center" placement. This placement, however, is convenient to the library staff who provide technical assistance to computer users. It also encourages patrons to use the computers responsibly--as in being careful of what is displayed on the computer screen.

Enough of computers. Behind the service desk is perhaps the most handsome quilt I have seen. It is called The Heritage Quilt, and if you are at all quilt-interested I strongly suggest you go to Chaska to see this one. There is a very nice booklet available about it; from that booklet I learned, among other things, that the quilt is 76" x 86", it took more than 50 Chaska residents over 3000 hours to make it, the people and buildings depicted were drawn from photos, and it was completed in July, 1988.

Nearby is a different sort of wall display, a cleverly designed "Magic Tree House" backdrop for some of the many summer reading program entries on display. Nearby are four containers for SRP entries; prizes include books for kids, Twins or State Fair tickets for kids or teens, and Barnes & Noble gift cards for teens.

In the kids area, an interesting idea is smallish wheeled carts displaying holiday books and encouraging kids with "I'm a holiday book, check me out." In most libraries I've visited, holiday books are relegated to a back corner when they are "out of season."

There are five computers for kids on a low counter. A tall "tree" with knobbed "branches" seems designed to hold puppets, but when I was there all the puppets were in a bin at the base of the tree. Well, except for one with which a small child pretended to bite me!

In the adult area, I liked seeing notices of citizenship classes displayed with Spanish books and a section for New Adult Readers. A long counter is available for laptop use. There is a fireplace with "living room" seating. In the picture below, note the wooden armchairs with cushioned backs and seats and attractive designs carved in the sides. Not showing well in the picture is a recent addition over the fireplace, a carving of Don Quixote by a local crafter.

Baskets hold periodicals for a magazine swap: "Gently used 2015 magazines to share." Guest passes for computer use are available in a container at the service desk. And I liked a poster on a bulletin board nearby calling attention to the "Library Service of the Month." July's feature is the Alldata Repair database, with information about on-line car and appliance repair.

I will need to revisit Chaska in a few years, as I learned of plans for a new library across the street from the current building. I look forward to that visit!

For more about this library, see the Carver County website at or visit on Facebook at

7/16/2015, car

The lobby that serves the library and other civic services

The Magic Tree house

The heart of the adult area, its "living room"

348. Carver County, Victoria Library

I decided that since the Victoria Express (see #23) still exists, the new library in Victoria, MN, will have its own entry. It certainly merits one! It shares a building with other municipal services. The front is attractive, but the back is wonderful, as it faces Steiger Lake, a walking/biking trail, and a bandshell under construction. This is a wonderful focal point for the community.

When I walked in, I mainly saw computers--at least ten, and room on an array of tables for more to be added. So my first thought was that perhaps this is one of the new libraries I read about where everything is electronic. But not to worry--when I walked to the end of this space and turned left I found the real library.

The entire back wall is lined with windows that look out on the lake and trail. In front of the windows is a shelf equipped for laptop use. Straight ahead is Teen Central, with comfortable seating, shelves of books, a couple of computers, a flat screen TV on the wall, and a stack of board games for use in the library. [It intrigues me that in this time when we worry about the over-use of electronic devices, I see board games and read about game nights at more and more libraries. Even Wilson Library on the U of MN campus has board games available!]

This shelf also holds a Stieger Lake Nature Journal. It has separate sections for preschoolers (circle the pictures of the things you saw on your nature walk) and school kids (draw and write about what you saw.) There are also supplies for making your own small notebook to take along on your walk. This strikes me as a very neat way to make a connection between the library and the outside.

The children's area is next to Teen Central, with windows facing out to the street. I really like the "corral" of bin-and-shelf units that hold picture books. I learned from a librarian that these are all on casters and thus easily moved to accommodate programs. A low table has four cute chairs with animal shapes on their backs. In front of the window is a "gardening center" with plastic tools for dramatic play. A bit of "passive programming" involves small sheets of paper with pictures of nine different gnomes labeled "Can you find the gnomes?" [I only found one.]

Separate kiosks provide for easy downloading of both Overdrive and 3M eBooks, and the "requests" shelf indicates that patrons make good use of the resources of the whole Carver County Library system. A wall of shelves between the adult computer area and the kids/teens area holds the fiction, non-fiction, and large print books for adults. Since this is a new library, this is a modest but shiny-new collection.

The Victoria Express book locker arrangement I saw three years ago at the recreation center is a great convenience, but the new Victoria Library--just in time for the town's centennial this summer--is a wonderful addition.

For more about this library, see the Carver County website at or visit on Facebook at

7/16/2015, car

The library faces the street, but the back looks out on a lake and trail.

 Furniture in the colorful children's area is on wheels for ease of rearrangement.

A corner for teens...and perhaps adults can use the blue chairs?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

17b. Southdale Library, Hennepin County Library System

I looked at my two earlier entries for this library and saw that on one occasion I visited because they had a book I wanted. It think it was the book about making felted doo-dads out of cat hair...yes, really. This time I was after something quite a bit classier: a movie called Nicky's Family about a man who rescued hundreds of Jewish kids from Czechoslovakia just before WW2. I recommend it.

OK, there's the motivation. I took the #6 bus from downtown Minneapolis and walked to the library from the transit center at the Southdale Mall. Therefore, this was the first time I approached the library from the north and entered via the "bridge." This is a very different experience than entering from the parking lot; to see what I mean, take a look at the picture with blog post 17, then look at the pictures below. There are grass and trees on the north, a nice foil for this mound of concrete.

After finding my DVD on the Requests shelf, I took a walk around this level. My recollection was that World Languages were in the southeast corner; they are now in the southwest corner, with windows and some nice seating. I may have missed some, but I spotted 7 bays of Chinese books and other media, 7 Russian, 1 Somali, 8 Spanish, and 2 Vietnamese. Children's materials in each language are available nearby.

Between Fiction and World Languages is the Teen area with about a dozen computers reserved for teens during the summer and other non-school hours. Near it are a number of study tables by a windowed corner.

I spent most of my time in the children's area, which is pretty much as I remember it. On the day I was there, a science activity was available involving colored lenses in sturdy wooden handles and some tubes that can be turned end-to-end to observe different results, and laminated cards with suggestions for things to try. Another science-y activity involved a light table with a collection of X-rays of insects--that's different! There's also a "farmers market" for dramatic play, a rug in the picture book area for play with toy cars and such, and a bright alphabet on the wall where I saw an adult carrying a small child and identifying the letters and animals.

I like the "tree" (really  disguised column) that grows near the children's area, and the underwater mural with its 3D creatures. See the pictures below, and be sure to notice the flying/swimming hippos. The children's area has quite a few nice wide easy chairs for adults and kids to share. A shelf along one wall has seven computers for kids (low counter, low seating, and colored keyboards) and nearby are eight computers reserved all day for "children and families."

A sign by the stairs up to the next level indicated that there are 100+ computers up there, as well as the non-fiction collection. I didn't go up on this visit. Centrally located on this floor are eight catalog computers; having half set up with chairs and half at a height for standing is a nice accommodation. A service counter has sight lines throughout this level. A young woman was helping an older woman locate a book, apparently a non-fiction one. She deftly asked me if should could help me quickly (yes, I just wanted permission to take interior pictures, which was granted) and then headed up to the next level to help the other patron. "No, you don't have to request it, we'll just go find it now." I thought that was very good service.

On my way out I stopped to chat with a circulation clerk and learned that the rumor I've heard about a new library for Southdale is correct, but some years in the future. I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

7/10/2015  bus, walking

A view down the "bridge" to the north entrance

Another view of the bridge

The tree that marks the entrance to the children's area

Farmers market and fish mural

Alphabet graphic

Flying (or swimming) hippo

The bridge where I entered is on the left.