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.

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