Wednesday, July 1, 2015

344. La Crosse County Public Library, Onalaska, Wisconsin

When I want to take a one-day library-collecting trip, there are still many gaps in my coverage of Minnesota and Wisconsin. So how to choose? In this case, I was considering the fact that my sister and her husband recently took a cruise to Alaska...a trip I am very unlikely to take. And it came to me: I would visit Onalaska!

The curved building has a welcoming, almost an embracing, ambience. As I turned right from the lobby into the children's area, I saw information about three levels of Summer Reading Program (SRP) participation: Junior Detectives Story Time for the youngest, through grade 1; Private Eyes Lunch Bunch (with a snack pack) for grades 2 through 4; and Super Sleuths Library Club for grades 5 though 8.

In the children's area are two computers on kid-sized tables, each with two or three pairs of headphones. A display of the first SRP activity, "Draw a Maze," had many examples of kids' work. A picture of the "Staff Detectives" reminded me of the staff pictures at the La Crosse city library. It appeared that all staff, including circulation clerks, were wearing nametags like the one I saw at Campbell, identifying them as "Detective."

An aquarium houses Sally, a pretty big turtle. Nearby are tracings showing her shell size in 2007 and 2010. Time for a new measurement?

It appears that the next SRP activity is to "Write a Mystery Story." Ten stories are displayed so far, with plenty of room for more. Although they are on full-sized paper, they made me think of the book, Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. It's here that I started to grasp the over-riding summer activity, finding clues at the library and looking for a "golden medallion" somewhere in the community. Each library community has a medallion hidden, and it is to be left in place for others to find. I was told, and I can readily believe, that this aspect of the program already has kids highly motivated and involved.

The end of the children's area is a full window wall. There are several unique features here and I show some of them in the pictures below. First is an "island" with a couple of palm trees, a treasure chest of books, and a large stuffed frog to sit on while reading. Near the windows is a tall, three-dimensional tree with baskets that hold puppets. And jutting out from the left wall are the prows of two boats, each equipped with a CD player and room for a couple of kids (or a kid and an adult) to sit. A boat with a Viking theme was being used, not for audio but for story reading, but I got a picture of the other.

A meeting room that I didn't enter seemed to be the site of a program for older kids, perhaps the Super Sleuths? Whatever it was, it was lively!

I gave the adult area a cursory look. There are at least six computers. A Reference and Information desk is near the non-fiction stacks, and the service desk is near the lobby. Clerestory windows high on the wall bring plenty of natural light into the large room. At the end of the room there is a large "living room" area by a fireplace; no picture, because the area was being well-used.

I didn't notice until I had driven away that a note had been left under my windshield wiper. When I was able to stop and read it, I learned that someone in the parking lot that day took exception to my parking (??) and did not think very highly of my Prius. I don't know what was wrong with my parking--and I can't imagine what this person would have thought if he or she had seen my car in La Crosse, where I ended up with a rear tire on the curb! Anyway, I'm sorry that my parking and choice of vehicle offended an Onalaskan!

For more about the La Crosse County Libraries, go to or check out their Facebook page at

6/30/2015, car

The welcoming exterior

What book would you take to a desert island?

The puppet tree and the window wall

One of the "listening station" boats; the CD player is in the bow.

What a neat way to honor donors, with their names on books!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcomed, and I will generally respond to them. Please be tasteful; comments that are in poor taste will be deleted.
Sorry about the "verification" step; I added it after a rash of spammish comments.