Tuesday, July 19, 2016

411. Bad Axe Area District Library, Michigan

Here I am on another library-visiting road trip. Michigan is often on my route from Minnesota to New Hampshire, but why Bad Axe, of all the towns I could choose? The answer goes back almost 55 years to the time when I was a novice ham radio operator in New Hampshire. As a novice, I was restricted to sending and receiving Morse code. And the most distant "ham" I communicated with was in Bad Axe. I have no idea who it was, but I never forgot the town name.

So, the library. First, while still in the lobby, I saw this sign: "Keep walking. All steps count until July 30 to the goal for the Hartwick Pines trip August 13." I don't know just what that's about, but I know that some libraries are combining activity and reading in their summer programs. Read on for another way that Bad Axe does this.

The first thing I noticed inside was a glass display case holding a gnarled chunk of a tree with an obviously old axe head embedded in it. A sign says that this is alleged to be the original bad axe. I hope that is true!

I've seen card catalogs being used and reused in various ways, but the choice here is cute and useful: the drawers are empty except for a single card in each drawer that says "Please let us show you the computer catalog."

At the entrance to the kids area there is a barrel of sports equipment that can be checked out, including footballs, soccer balls, bats, and other gear. This ties in with the impressive town park outside the library. It's neat that kids can check out this equipment. It reminds me of the Hollis, NH, library, which is near the local middle school; they offer frisbees to kids, to let off some steam in the park outside before they come in to settle down with books. White River, Ontario library also does this.

Adjacent to the library, a park with this evidence of early Bad Axe industry.

A librarian explained to me that the library started in the upper level of the city hall. Then it moved to what is now the "middle" part of the current library. Later, the area to the left as you enter was added, and then the children's space and the cozy corner in the last picture below. The combination of these parts has resulted in a delightful and interesting library.

The children's area is charming. These pictures will give some ideas of the creativity in that area.

The space has large windows, a mural, a sturdy dollhouse, and stuffed animals

Large model airplanes hang from the ceiling.

This sturdy study table seems to be an attractive antique.

There are three of these free-standing displays for children's books.

An adult corner includes a couple of unique features: the wood stove and the rolling ladder. 
This is one of my all-time favorite "library nooks."

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