Thursday, July 7, 2016

110a Elk River Branch, Great River Library System, MN

This was a re-visit, mainly because I was "in the neighborhood." Since I first visited in 2012, one design element had stuck in my mind, and I was curious to see if I had remembered correctly. That feature? The way the flooring in the children's area evokes the blue of the Mississippi River and the yellow-green of adjacent farm land. My memory did not fail me--this is just what I found. Also, the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" series of padded seating, and the little room tucked behind the fireplace, with a low entrance and a collection of board books inside.

With all that's been in the news lately about who gets to use which restroom, I was glad to see that off the lobby, adjacent to the large meeting room, there are three "single person" or "family" restrooms--and a fourth is accessible from the children's area.

The summer reading program this year is "Read for the Win," an Olympic theme. There is a display where "gold medals" are on the wall by grade, from K through 6 (I think). I didn't note what you have to do for a gold medal, but it will be interesting to see which grade comes out on top. [I saw a similar display in an Iowa town where the library is inside a K-12 school and serves both the school and the community. In that case, the younger kids were trouncing the older ones....]

Beyond the children's area there is still a welcoming area of easy chairs facing a broad, handsome fireplace. The curved window wall provides light to a variety of seating and study tables, and there are three small study rooms which can be reserved at the public access computer.

A challenge near the service desk asks "Can you find a children's book about history? Find one you would read. Check it out. Fill out a drawing slip." There is an implication in there somewhere that you will actually read the book!

 Nearby is a sealed plastic bag containing what appears to be a shredded book, with a challenge to look at the text on the shreds, then write what you think the title is on an entry slip for a drawing. I gave it a pretty good looking-over and I have to tell you...I have NO idea!

My conclusion? Elk River library is continuing to offer interesting programming in an attractive building, just as it was four years ago. For what it's worth, that's my opinion. [Also, the staff were pleasant to talk to!]


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