Saturday, August 15, 2015

208a. Watonwan County/St. James, MN, Public Library

I wasn't planning on any "revisits" on this trip, but I didn't check my records carefully enough. This was my second visit here. It felt different, however, because I didn't have to negotiate around a high school homecoming parade! (If you put "208." or "St. James" in the search field, you can see my report of the earlier visit and some pictures of the parade!)

This library has a magazine exchange in the lobby, and I kicked myself for forgetting to bring some of my recent periodicals. The place I have been donating magazines no longer takes them, and I planned to put some in the car for just this sort of opportunity. Next time!

The first thing that caught my eye, and I'm sure it wasn't here before, was a craft table, about four feet square, with discarded books forming the legs! It's wonderful! I took a picture, and as soon as I solve my phone/camera issues, I will post it along with several others.

There are three large areas along the right side of the library. The first has two "Little Tykes" computers, a larger-than-life-sized cardboard superhero (Captain America, I think, but I'm not an expert in this area), an American Girls quilt with the names of the quilters along the bottom, and an easel with a sort of peg board I haven't seen before, with large plastic pegs that can be used to make pictures. A bilingual alphabet rug in shades of blue, green, and brown complements the early literacy posters: Describe, Imitate, Question and Describe, Imitar, Pregunta. A sign indicates that Accelerated Reader tests are available on library computers. I'm not a big fan of AR, but having it available here may keep some kids reading more over the summer.

The second section on this side of the library is a teen area with two couches and coffee tables, the collection of YA books, and a life-size cardboard telephone booth--like a Tardis, I guess, except that it's red. Judging from the foam blocks nearby, I'd guess that patrons younger than teens find this interesting!

Finally, there is a corner with Spanish materials. In addition to books and other materials and seating for adults, there are play materials for small children, a nice combination. One of the toys is a plastic workbench with tools; Pepin, WI, no longer has the status of "only place where I've seen a toy workbench"!

Shelves of adult fiction, non-fiction, and media are in the center of the library. At the edges are browsing areas, including two "living room" spaces and tables for laptop use. There are framed drawings of St. James landmarks on the outside walls. There is also a lot of framed art, which I suspect can be borrowed. I wish had asked about it; perhaps a reader from St. James will add a comment about this.

In one corner is the Sertona Room, a small study/conference room with a large monitor screen, tables, and four chairs. Nearby are files of St. James and Watonwan County history. One section of shelves in the non-fiction area holds volumes of 2014 Minnesota Statutes, 2013 Minnesota Rules, and a lot of phone directories, once a staple of library reference sections but now quite rare to see.

"Superhero Reader" forms from the summer reading program are posted throughout the library, especially on the ends of book shelves. And I spotted a poster with a list of "Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learner." I especially liked the reference to two different target audiences.

For more about the St. James Library, look here and try "St. James Library" on Facebook. NOTE: If there is a specific Facebook page for the library, please let me know; I could not find it.

8/14/2015, car

How about those table legs?

The little kids' area

Teen / Young Adult area, with cardboard phone booth

The corner with Spanish material; seats for adults, toys and a low table for kids.
The toy work bench and tools are out of sight to the right.

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