Tuesday, October 4, 2016

430 Spring Grove Public Library, Spring Grove, MN

Far down in the southeast corner of Minnesota, I visited the Spring Grove library. Spring Grove was one of the first Norwegian settlements in Minnesota, and there are a number of framed documents displayed to remind you of this fact. I became aware of the Norwegian roots when I was here in the early 1980s for a couple of Volksmarch hiking events, but I haven't been here since then, and at that time I was not looking for libraries.

Well, let's get inside. The library shares space with a number of organizations in this building:

Before heading down the ramp to the entrance, I noticed an addition to the universal library symbol on the bookdrop. I forgot to ask inside, but I think that is a Pokemon figure, indicating perhaps that this library, like many others, is involved in Pokemon Go. [And at this point, I really don't know what I'm talking about, so I will stop...!]

Two ramps lead to the entrance, one from the main sidewalk, and the other from the parking lot. I always like seeing a bench by a library entrance.

It should be no surprise that in addition to the displayed documents (mentioned above), there are many old photographs displayed in the entrance hall. A number of these go back to the days when an "old home day" involved getting everyone together for a town picture. I also enjoyed the photos of brass bands, since my grandfather once led such a band back in the same era.

Inside the library proper, to the left, is an area for teens. Beyond that there are two offices and a sign on the wall with some good advice: "Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go." To the right of the entrance is the service desk with generous counter space and work space. I chatted with the person working there and we agreed that library work requires lots of "stacking space"-- there always seems to be the need for more piles!

There are ten computers for public use. Non-fiction is shelved along the back wall in unusual built-in shelves, seen in the last picture below. A rather large collection of "local authors," which seems to mean Minnesota authors, fills one section of stacks. Given how close to Wisconsin and Iowa this town is located, I wouldn't be surprised to see authors from those states also, but I didn't spot any.

The children's area features the large painted tree you see below. I was glad to see the pictures posted representing participants in "1000 Book Before Kindergarten." Some junior fiction has spine stickers indicating animal stories, realistic fiction, and so forth. Two tables have an interesting design with slight cutouts; you can see this if you look closely at the table in the foreground below.

The final corner, with two windows, features a Keurig coffee set up (free coffee!), a stuffed otter (oh?), newspapers hanging across (not mounted on) old newspaper sticks, and those framed documents mentioned in the first paragraph.

In the final picture you see a corner of the bookshelves built into the wall. I don't think I've ever seen shelves quite like these before. And I'm sure I've never seen one of those bulbous gray stools! There are two; I thought they were seating, but the library director explained to me that they are stools to ease shelving books on the lowest shelves. I totally appreciate that; I thought I would like to have wheels on one of these, but on second thought, with wheels I'd probably go feet-over-head as soon as I sat down!

I think this is the first time I've sought out the Director of the library, since she was available in her office. I had a great time talking to her, and I want to let her know that I thought I had a personal copy of the book about Minnesota libraries, but I can't find it...so I have ordered one from Better World Books. Past experience suggests that as soon as the parcel arrives, the book will pop up on one of my bookshelves!


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