I probably had never heard of New Glarus, WI (pop. 2111), until someone called my attention to a series of pictures of libraries in New England, posted by Rachel from the New Glarus library. [Of course, as things tend to go, I can't find that post now.] I enjoyed the pictures, swapped emails, and started following the New Glarus library site on Facebook. So I saw the request for board games on July 27. I inquired, and yes, one that I had would be welcome. So on September 2, I headed for New Glarus (and a couple of other Wisconsin libraries, of course) to deliver the game and "collect" the library.
Luck was with me...Rachel was there and we had a good chance to chat. And...on to the library visit.
This is the building that houses the Town Clerk's and public utilities offices, as well as the library. Just to the right of the picture is the police department. In a side corridor from the lobby that serves the library and offices is a series of old prints from William Tell. I had to read William Tell when I studied German in college, and I could almost read the German version of the captions on the pictures. Almost.
New Glarus was founded by Swiss immigrants, and still retains much Swiss atmosphere and pride. [The town webpage is at http://www.tn.newglarus.wi.gov/index.asp?locid=158.] The picture above is pale, just as it looks.
I took this odd-angled picture to try and show the "shields" high on the wall. I think, but I failed to confirm this, that they represent the various cantons of Switzerland. Perhaps someone will leave a comment and either confirm or correct my hunch.
The children's area has a computer with a colored keyboard and a broad bench, one that would seat two, maybe three, little kids. This is much nicer than places I've been that insist on only one child at a computer at once. [Never mind socialization, we want quiet!] There is a nursery rhyme-themed rug, a Duplo table, and a collection of puppets. The backpacks shown above the puppets in the picture hold collections of books and toys on related themes, like raptors, bugs, and birds. In the upper left of the picture is something new to me, children's CDs in yellow-and-black zippered cases. It seems to me that this would make it easier to keep track of borrowed CDs, with less risk of losing them among the family's collection. There is also a good-sized collection of CD and book sets. I learned that about 270 kids participated in the summer reading program--in a town of just of 2000!
There are two computers for the older kids with a sign requesting that the limit be two kids per computer. (See comment above.) There seem to be quite a few YA titles for the size of the library and town.
The card catalog is now used for seed sharing. A corner with seating is near a rather large collection of periodicals. Most of the titles are familiar to me from the library where I work; I bet there's about an 80% overlap. But this is the only place where I've spotted the "Swiss American History Society Review!"
Music CD covers are displayed in plastic sleeves; the disks themselves must be requested from the librarian, I think. There are stacks with about 11 bays of non-fiction, perhaps 20 of fiction for adults. DVDs are in individual cases--no multiple-DVD sets. So, for example, Season 1, Disk 1 and Season 1, Disk 2, of your favorite show are in two cases. A sign nearby provides a reminder: "New Glarus Municipal Ordinances: Theft of library material, $248.00 fine." That's explicit--and motivating!
I saw a wonderful display of cut-paper art. And as I left through the lobby, something else new to me: a place to dispose of unused medicine, provided, I think, by a nearby hospital.
Finally, here is my reason to plan a return trip in a year or two:
"On May 5, 2015 the New Glarus Village Board unanimously passed a Resolution that reflects the results of the 2014 referendum on the library-building project. Specifically, the New Glarus Village Board has endorsed Glarner Park as the new downtown home of the library, and has agreed to reserve $1,000,000 in borrowing capacity for the library project."
The library website is at http://www.newglaruspubliclibrary.org/, and you'll find the on Facebook at