Saturday, March 19, 2016

381. Denver, Iowa

I had some fun telling friends that I was taking a two-day road trip from St. Paul, MN, by car, and would include Denver. Now they understand that there is more than one Denver...the mile-high one in Colorado, and the mile-wide one in Iowa.

The lobby includes a display of Denver history and the photo-story of a community-built playground. A table encouraged visitors to "Support Denver Businesses" and held cards and brochures from many of those businesses, a very nice indication of civic pride. A couple of glass cases had displays related to local veterans. The shelf of "books for sale" is run by and benefits the Teen Advisory Council. And there is a cart of free magazines; this time, I had some in the car which I added to the collection. And all this was just the lobby!

There are more display cases inside, one with pictures and books about Denver country, town, and city schools, and another with fossils and archaeological artifacts. A collection of name plaques on the wall identify Denver Public Library memorials. There are many framed art works available to borrow; I understand that some are borrowed by individual patrons, others by local businesses. Nice!

In the children's area a curved wall with a series of tall windows has a deep shelf that creates cubbies below the windows. The cubbies hold "preschool years" packs of related materials to borrow. A puppet theater had four wooden rockers lined up in front, waiting for someone to put on a show. A very interesting feature is a "reading loft" with a staircase, perhaps 6 or 7 feet above the main floor. It was closed when I was there, but the librarian I spoke to said she would soon open it; the closure was for for crowd control during a spring break program the day before that had brought in 60+ people! Rules for the loft include a maximum 8 people, and kids under ten years must have a parent with them in the loft.

An unusual piece of "furniture" is a sort of pit, about ten by six feet, formed of foam shapes that fit together to make a rectangle with back supports. There are four computers for kids.

In the adult area there is a browsing corner with four easy chairs, windows, a large fig tree, and nearby periodicals. A patio (closed on this cold, not-quite-spring day, overlooks a park with a creek. There is a fireplace and more casual seating near the newspapers.

I was intrigued by a series of books about Iowa by local author Linda Betsinger McCann, especially the ones titled "Lost <name> County. I'm going to see if some of them are available in St. Paul or through interlibrary loan, because they look very interesting.

I was chatting with the librarian before I left and noticed a display of cake pans for loan, most of them donated. The first place I saw such a thing was in the Osage, Iowa, library, but I've since seen them from time to time in at least three states.

The librarian told me about their annual butterfly project, in which a patron brings in monarch caterpillars that are raised in the library, then released in a butterfly garden out by the patio. Roseville, MN, has a similar program.

The library web site is at, and you can join them on Facebook at

3/17/2016, car

The library entrance

A closer view of the entrance

The sign that identifies this as the "Mile Wide City"

Another view


  1. And now we know! It also looks like it was a lovely Iowa day.

    1. It was a very nice driving day, Donna.

  2. Thanks for stopping by our library in Denver!


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