Thursday, March 16, 2017

439 Kenyon Public Library, Kenyon, MN

My next stop after Northfield was in Kenyon, Minnesota. The Kenyon Public Library was begun by the Round Table Club in 1901. In 1908, the library was formally organized as the Kenyon Library Association. Like many libraries of this early vintage, it has had several locations over the years. My favorite story from the library's website is of one location that was warmed with a coal-burning heater, requiring that soot be cleaned from the books periodically. (Keep this in mind when you get to the bullet points at the end of this post.) In 2000, the library made its final move to its current location, a new building housing both City Hall and the library.

Northfield Library is full of nooks and crannies. In contrast, the Kenyon library is a large, open rectangle. As soon as I walked in the door, I could see the whole layout. Adult non-fiction is shelved along the left-hand wall, with fiction in adjacent bookcases.  Media and computers are along the right-hand wall. The back of the space is for kids. The far wall in the kids' area has a delightful mural. A table is ready with an over-sized checkers game, and other games and some puzzles are on a nearby shelf.

The area rug has the alphabet for the younger kids and a world map for the older ones. I'm always glad to see maps; there is a more detailed world map in the corner behind the beanbags, and a US map nearby. Speaking of the beanbags, there are a couple of rules: they are for sitting, not for jumping or diving. Diving, really? I know that rules are often created to fit a situation that needs control, and I'm trying to picture it...!  A nice feature here is the semi-circle of trapezoidal benches that create a sense of sitting around a campfire...or a storyteller.

Junior and Young Adult fiction are shelved along the far right wall in the picture below. Nearby are two "Book Fortune Teller" jars, one for J and one for YA. Each contains slips of paper with the titles of book available here. Kids are encouraged to pull out a slip, find the book, and give it a try, even it it is not something they would ordinarily read. Nice idea! I saw something similar in New Richmond, WI, where they have a jar of tongue depressors with Dewey numbers written on them. The challenge is to pull out a stick, find the number, and read whatever you come up with.

The media area, with computers in the background, is "kid-friendly," with a farm-themed book and cutout animals on a small table. I was given a bookmark with some useful information. First is the "Rule of Two" -- 2 week checkouts, 2 renewals (a couple of exceptions), and 20 cents per day for overdue items. That's basic. But the fun information involves care of books:

  • Do not read books in the bathtub. Steam and water can quickly damage books.
  • Be careful when eating or drinking around books. Stained books are damaged books.
  • Please do not smoke around books.
And importantly:
  • Damaged books will be assessed a fine.
In case you are a person who thinks all this is pretty obvious...I worked at a library for eight years recently and I assure you, many library patrons are not aware of these reasonable issues.


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