Friday, January 6, 2017

103a St. Anthony Branch, Hennepin County Library, Minnesota

From the number on this entry I know that this was one of the last MELSA libraries I visited in 2012 (because I visited 106 of them) and I know it's a re-visit (because of the "a" appended to the number).  I remember this site primarily because someone on staff was able to tell me exactly where to wait for the bus that would take me home. This visit was by car, mainly because I don't like riding unfamiliar bus routes when the temperature is hovering around zero!

So, why was I back today? This branch library has recently completed a major interior face lift,and I wanted to see the results. Nice job as always, Hennepin county!

One of the first things I noticed, and I was tipped off by reading the progress notes on the Hennepin site, is a sense of height and openness, achieved by removing a ceiling and exposing the structure above, which has been painted white.

The window areas on both sides of the entrance are well-used. On the left is a "living room" reading area for adults, on the right, a cluster of seven computers. Beyond the computers  are the teen fiction collection and the media: recorded books, music CDs (many) and DVDs (seemed like a small number). There were also shelves of Requested Books, indicating that good use is made of the entire Hennepin County collection.

The service desk is halfway back on the right side of the space, where it has good sight-lines to all major parts of the library. The book return is in a logical place, beside and just beyond the service desk, but I didn't spot it and had to ask. Did I miss a sign? I forgot to ask about an external book drop, but there must surely be one,.

Nonfiction, all except for "E" non-fiction, is shelved along the wall to the left, with adult fiction in free-standing shelving nearby.

The meeting room is now in the far back of the space. Nearby are two Unisex restrooms, a modern approach that I applaud.

The remainder of the space is for kids of all ages. Light tables, like the one shown here, seem to be standard in most Hennepin County libraries now. This one had an additional feature: the light shining from below changes colors. Very cool.



When I looked back at my notes from 2012 I saw that the children's area had chairs with duck feet. No duck feet chairs this time, but a very nice area for play and picture books, with seats for adults accompanying kids. The table in the center holds Lego and Duplo materials, and beyond that is a sturdy wooden-handled magnifying lens with a collection of insects embedded in plastic. One neat feature, not pictured, is a floor-level mirror, about 1 foot high, with a nearby basket of multi-cultural dolls. This was new to me, and I can imagine the toddler crowd having a wonderful time.



There are two computers reserved for kids, plus a self-checkout station and, down at the end in the next picture, a catalog access computer (I believe).

After I posted this the first time, I heard from a family, former neighbors, who now visit this library. The kids made an interesting point: there are no coat hooks. They even suggested a place where hooks could be provided, on the wall to the right between the children's area and the meeting room. This might involve adjusting the location of the long, low mirror, but I think the kids have the right idea!


When I started looking around, one of the first things I noticed was a sign that said "3  Chapter Books !" I soon found others, and listed them in my notebook:

  1. Book drop (but not where I could see it when I came in)
  2. Light table
  3. Chapter books
  4. Computers
  5. Easy non-fiction
  6. Mirror
  7. Express checkout
  8. Holiday books
  9. Easy readers
  10. Picture books
I asked about these when I was leaving and learned that the staff generally has some sort of scavenger hunt going. These are from the re-opening a few weeks ago, when they were used to help kids locate their familiar parts of the library. [Because I found all 10, I was allowed to choose a Bookawocky sticker. Thanks, staff...I love my zebra sticker!]

1/6/2017

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