This attractive library is tucked into a corner of North Mankato where it appears to have easy access from several directions. In the lobby are a paperback exchange and a magazine exchange (current year only, please!).
A "living room" area near a large bow window is adjacent to newspapers and community literature. There's a coffee set-up, easy chairs, and a round table that looks as if it would welcome a (quiet) table game. Another "living room" area is near the periodicals and media. A sign by the DVDs says "Please do not steal the DVDs! They are FREE for you to use and you can check them out multiple times." The sign includes a pair of staring eyes; social psychology research claims that posting eyes like this near "honor system" pay boxes increases compliance, and I hope they do the same here. I do like the reasonableness of the "they're free, you don't have to steal them" approach.
I spent some time looking at the original cash register and scale from Mutch's Hardware, a North Mankato institution from 1926 to 2012. I like it when treasures of this sort are kept and displayed, connecting us to the past.
The teen area has YA books, magazines, a tall table with four stools and a counter that looks just right for laptop use. This area also has a "living room" ambience.
As I approached the children's area, I couldn't miss the large (2 x 6 feet?), two-sided aquarium. Nearby is a conference room with bay windows and a big sign outside, "Super Hero Headquarters." Many libraries are using the superhero theme for their summer reading programs, and it seems to lend itself to lots of fun activities and decorations. A mirror allows kids to "see yourself as a hero." A bulletin board caption states that Every Hero Has a Story. There are pictures of community heroes; some seem to be generic "community helper" photos, others are local people with names and roles given. It's very nice to bring the topic home like that.
There is a large white "Snoopy and his doghouse" sculpture with pictures and comics on it. There must be a story there! Nearby is yet another bay window with tables and toys. A sign announces that "Imagination Station materials were funded by a Library Service and Tech grant through the MN Department of Education."
I saw a poster showing progress toward 600 kids finishing the Summer Reading Program. That's a lot of kids! Why 600? Well, "If 600 kids finish the SRP by August 28, Miss Michelle will get slimed on August 31! Keep reading!" The count on August 14 was 469. I met Miss Michelle and learned that there would be a "movie in the park" that evening where she would exhort the kids to get that count up. Brave woman! Come on, kids, you know you want to see this!
Finally, a random list of things I enjoyed seeing: A desk for the children's librarian strategically located between the teen and kids areas. A window into the circulation staff work area. A table with two cups, a bunch of pompoms, chopsticks, and a challenge. And a well-placed shelf next to the book return slot, a place to put your backpack or bag while dealing with your books. [Are you reading this, Minneapolis Central?]
For more about this library, go to http://www.northmankato.com/taylorlibrary or check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/North-Mankato-Taylor-Library/122469572456?fref=nf. I hope that Facebook will keep us posted on Miss Michelle and the slime!