This library had my attention before I even went inside. There is a large fenced area that might be called a reading garden, but is also a playground, the outdoor portion of the Keith Wilson Children's Center.
My favorite in this area is the set of swings in graduated sizes, perfect for reading together and with a height for every leg!
For the kids who are not into sitting and reading, this area also has a large sand pit. Benches and the picnic table complete the scene, at least for now. I believe other features are brought out as the weather warms. This picture also shows the curves that add interest to the building's lines.
The curves continue at the entrance; to me, they suggest the waters of Lake Michigan, which were very "curvy" when I took the ferry last year!
Actually, there are two entrances, this one from the sidewalk and another facing the parking lot. The tall curved windows on the right here are in the children's area, and the windows in the background are beside the adult stacks.
Entering from the sidewalk, I turned left and found this friendly-looking living room area for browsers. There are newspapers nearby, a pile of free magazines ("Take a few, leave a few"), and paperback genre fiction on spinners. To the right are the adult fiction and non-fiction stacks.
At the end of the stacks, a mural reminiscent of WPA projects brightens the wall. This was painted in 1957 by a local artist, Donald Cary Weir. Beneath the mural you can see a corner of a room for study or quiet reading, with periodicals.
The teen area is up four steps or a ramp, and set off by the stretched fabric panels. I didn't look too closely, as it was being used by teens. I did note that this area is "Supported with funding by the House of Flavors, Inc." I don't know what that is, but I'm betting on ice cream.
The room behind the ramp is the Dickson Local History Room, with the microfilm/fiche readers needed for historical research. There are eight computers nearby.
Now for the children's area. This is the indoor portion of the Keith Wilson Children's Center, a memorial by Mr. Wilson's son. I didn't get a good picture of the large curved sign that marks the center, but I did get the EXPLORE sign. It caught my eye because the large 3-D letters are covered with paper with maps printed on it. Neat!
Lately it seems that every library near water provides a boat in its play area, and the boats usually fit the area. So, LaCrosse, Wisconsin has a river boat; Rochester, Minnesota has a canoe. Put "boat" in the search field for this blog, see what you come up with! And here we have a sailboat, with a wheel that suggests it could also go under power. A local company, Brill Manufacturing, played a role in designing and building this boat. I had not heard of this company, so I took a look at their interesting website. They create furniture, especially (it seems) for education.
The Children's Center is especially well-supplied with toys, and when I arrived an hour before closing, staff was in the process of returning everything to its rightful place, ready for the new day.
This colorful creation is a mosaic of plastic bottle caps, created by a special education class. A lot of creativity and effort has gone into this. It does a good job of reflecting the obvious creativity and energy of the staff.
A library, even a Children's Center, is not all toys, of course. Four large square whiteboards are mounted on one wall, waiting for kids to express themselves. The book collection is good-sized, and includes an unusual number of series books, both fiction and non-fiction. I've tried on line to find one series that I saw, called "Guarding" and dealing with those who guard our safety and health, including the Center for Disease Control. I can't find these listed anywhere; perhaps someone at the library will see this post and help me out?
Looking back at my notes, I see that I've missed a few features, including a wonderful salt-water aquarium with unusual creatures and a couple of gasoline-powered model planes of the sort guys used to fly behind my house when I was a kid. Looking at them, I can still recall the very distinctive sound of those small engines. And finally, there is a rack of six fishing rods with tackle, available for loan!