From Crosby to Aitkin is a short drive, about 15 minutes. Where Crosby is an independent library, Aitkin is the farthest northwest branch of the East Central Regional Library. With this visit, I've now been to all of the East Central branches.
The library building includes a large community meeting room which is accessible when the library is closed. I was told that it is very popular for all sorts of meetings, and is free to any non-profit. This is a not-uncommon example of a way that libraries serve their communities, in addition to "merely" lending books.
I was pleased to see that there is an active winter reading program for adults. The lobby displayed many cards with mini-reviews, including a rating (Great, Good, OK, Cold) followed by a two- or three-sentence review. One review was of a recent Lucille Penny book; I agree, it's a great one!
The children's area is outfitted for play as well as books. Puppets and Legos are featured here. A curved window wall provides storage and a long window seat.
At the other end of the curve is an activity cube. Behind it is what appears to be an unused desk, tipped on its side and designated as a cozy reading spot. What a great idea!
I took the picture below in an effort to show the carpet circles leading into the children's area. For some reason they caught my attention; the colors? the roundness? I can't say, but I like them.
I also like the adult-style upholstered chairs at the kid-sized table. So grown-up, and I'll bet kids like them.
This view gives an overall look. The children's area is in the right rear of the picture. In the foreground, a display of new books, and on the next shelf, a seasonal display. If you look closely you can see cards numbered 1, 2, and 3, indicating the location of the six public computers. And of course, the Community Room is in the background,.
I didn't notice this until I posted the picture, but I think the dark green sides on the overhead lights are very effective; they keep the ceiling from being a solid white expanse.
I don't usually have pictures of service desks, because they usually have staff, and I have a 99% "no people" rule for interior pictures. In this case, the sole Saturday staff person was busy with...oh, those things that always need to be done in a library...so here you are!
Across from the service desk is an open area with periodicals, chairs, tables, and a jigsaw puzzle just getting underway. I wanted to sit and work on it, since two edge pieces were missing. (Edge pieces are my favorites.) I gave it a quick look with no luck because I also wanted to be back in St. Paul before dark!
I had several reasons to choose Aitkin for this trip. As I mentioned above, it completes the East Central Region. It is also just about at the limit for a single-day trip. And I saw someone with a library sign at a rally in St. Paul a few weeks ago. In the crush, I just managed to learn that she was from Aitkin. She wasn't working on the day I visited, but I asked the staff person there to please tell her hello.
By the way, Aitkin originally (1911) had a Carnegie library--I saw a picture of it, but I didn't chase down the building, which is now an art center. I swiped this picture from Wikipedia.