Monday, August 31, 2015

365. Comfrey Community Library, Comfrey, MN

As I've mentioned before, seeing kids' bikes outside a library always makes me glad, because it means kids are riding their bikes, not depending on a car for transportation. And, since they are generally unlocked, that I'm in that sort of community.

Near the entrance to the library I saw a collection box for "Soles for Souls," the first time I've seen one except at my favorite shoe store. Great idea.
Inside, I spotted a display of participants in the "1000 Before Kindergarten" program, which I think is great. The children's area has a series of framed nursery rhymes and pictures on the walls. Near the large windows you can see in the picture above are five square tables, each with four chairs--room for plenty of kids. Perhaps a whole class from the school? Reference books, including Encyclopedia Britannica, World Book, and others, are shelved under the windows.
A model of the Comfrey water tower with a tornado (made very realistically of wire coiled around a funnel shape of rough gray material), with the ground littered with broken trees, is a vivid reminder of the March 29, 1998, tornado that devastated this part of the state. This new library, I believe, is a result of that tornado.
Nearby are 29 VHS tapes of the Northern Lights Minnesota Author Interviews Series, a wonderful reference collection (for those who can still play VHS tapes). I noticed that non-fiction VHS tapes are shelved with the non-fiction books. I expect that non-fiction DVDs are also shelved this way, though I didn't spot any. I think it's a great way to get exposure for non-fiction material and meet the needs of people who might like to complement a book with a visual source, and vice-versa.

A corner of the adult area has large windows and comfy-looking chairs--and a sign that reads "Adults only in this reading corner." Periodicals and newspapers are nearby. Also nearby are reproductions of three old school signs: "Teacher's Rules 1972" (which sound much older than that!); "1915 Rules for Teachers" (including no smoking, no bright colors, and "at least two petticoats"); and a list of "Punishments," of which the most serious (10 lashes each) were "Playing cards in school" and "Misbehaving to girls." There is also a picture of Alma Neumann, 1887-1985, identified simply as a "Library Benefactor."
My favorite sign, however, is more contemporary: "Unattended children will be given espesso and a free puppy." Take that, parents who want to use the librarian as a babysitter!

I took this picture as I walked back to my car. The grain elevators reminded me of the wonderful course I took last spring at the U of Minnesota, "Geography of the USA and Canada," taught by Prof. John Fraser Hart who turned 92 during the semester--and retired at semester end. One of the most interesting courses I've ever taken.

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