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!
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 http://www.krls.org/branches/branch_pk.html.
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?