Sunday, February 21, 2016

62a Hennepin County, Hopkins

I first visited the Hopkins branch of the Hennepin County Library System (HCLS) on July 23, 2012. My notes were skimpy, and my main memories are of heat and some issue about where to catch the bus. No problem with heat today and I drove, so...  I returned to Hopkins because the library was remodeled last year. Here's the official description of what was done:

Hopkins Library building project

Renovation
May 11 to June 26, 2015
A new single service point; enhanced areas for adults, teens and children; and new furniture and carpet improved the library. Casual seating and lounge areas were added, along with better access to power outlets for charging personal electronic devices. New automated materials handling equipment streamlined the book return process. 

The first thing I saw today was this:

When I see something like this outside a library, I expect great things inside, because somebody has a sense of humor and isn't afraid to use it. (Or is allowed to use it.) I fed it a book I was returning to HCLS, then headed inside.

A glass-walled lobby allows one to see inside when arriving and be aware, from the service desk, of patrons coming and going. I noticed a uniformed security officer sitting near the service desk when I went in.

Teens have the first area to the left of the lobby entrance. It's a pretty large area, with a wall of windows, six computers clearly marked TEEN, a variety of seating and tables, and a good-sized collection of books.

Beyond the teen area is a large space for children with all sorts of interactive and play opportunities. The Minnesota Children's Museum has been involved here; some of the earmarks (aside from the sign) are a picnic table, "charcoal grill," lots of play food, and a "tree" feature that is different from any other I've seen. I didn't get interior pictures because the area was well-used on this Sunday aftrnoon. But there are wooden "branches" cut from boards, with leaf shapes at the end and cut-outs in the leaves that are filled with colored plastic. I'm not doing it justice at all; if you are in the Twin Cities area, just go out to Hopkins and have a look.

Some features that I wrote about before are still there: the fire engine big enough to sit in, a light table with translucent plastic blocks, a shadow-puppet theater, a farmers market with vegetable bins, and much more. A unique feature from "before" is the bicycle (front wheel and handlebars) mounted to the wall next to a map of the Hopkins area. Instructions are to spin the bike wheel to determine a destination, mark that place with a magnet, spin again for a starting point...then use your finger to find a route. Very cool.

There are abundant bins of picture books and shelves of children's fiction. Children's non-fiction is shelved with adult non-fiction, except for folk- and fairy-tales, which have their own spot. Large photographs of children and adults reading are posted at the top of one long wall. Many of the library's windows have stained-glass features. Everywhere you look, there is something interesting to catch your eye!

There are nine computers reserved for children, clustered around three tables, and at least six of them were in use. Near the children's books are some curved benches and other seating. Behind these there is a meeting room with glass walls into the library. When I was there, the room was being used as a quiet study room. Three family restrooms are nearby.

The adult area has about 36 computers in various groups. All the usual types of books are represented, fiction, non-fiction, Spanish, large print, science fiction, and so forth. The shelves and walls form various corners and spaces with one or more chairs and assorted tables. An actual "quiet study room" was busy, with high school kids and adults using almost every space. As I told the circulation clerk I spoke to, everywhere you turn there is another area, each with a slightly different feel.

2/21/2016, car



The relatively plain exterior is enlivened by the pattern on the retaining wall and at the roof line.


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