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"

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