Friday, May 19, 2017

447 Michigan City Public Library, Michigan City, IN

This bold sign ensures that you will not mistake this location for anything but the library. In the background, the shape of the building suggests pictures I've seen of factories designed with sloped roofs and clerestory windows like this.

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Image result for factory roof design
I haven't seen this design used for a library, but I think it makes sense. It lets in a lot of natural light, and it pays homage to this manufacturing area.

The grounds are softened by the presence of trees and shrubs that make a very nice "campus."


Inside, I found an increasingly rare payphone (50 cents, no incoming calls). Walls that are not clear glass are translucent, giving a bright look to the interior without glare.  

A story nook at the entrance to the children's area has an animal theme, from the rug on the floor to the mural on the wall. There are four rockers, one for an adult and the others for kids, plus some books and toys.



My favorite part of the children's area includes this puzzle mat with green "grass" and blue "water" pieces, plus the tree trunk, stump, and mushrooms, all made of thick foam. The pink and blue "egg" chairs "...are for children and adults with their children present." Staff told me that I was lucky in my timing: this area would soon be mobbed with kids and parents for a story hour,

There is also a very large rug with bright-colored squares directly in front of the children's librarian's desk.

Picture books are shelved in two levels of metal bins with rails to keep them from falling forward and author's initials along the top. The school-age collection includes non-fiction, fiction, readers, and media. There are a lot of bags with puppets that can be checked out.


The teen area shown below continues the factory theme with the large exposed pipes (air ducts, I believe). I can't explain the significance of the full-sized traffic light!


Some other discoveries:

  • A "Die Cut" room with a device that teachers use to cut letters, numbers, and shapes from paper or cardboard. It's a nice idea to make this available to patrons (with supervision; must be 18) rather than keeping it for staff use.
  • Nice signage on the ends of stacks. I wish I had a picture. Each sign involved a recessed space with an incised book shape and uniform labels, all covered with plexiglass. They are very attractive.
  • Biographies are shelved together, not dispersed throughout the collection. This is the approach to biographies that I prefer, and I think many patrons agree with me.
  • A "Dewey See It?" poster takes an interesting approach to understanding the Dewey Decimal System. For each "hundred" there is the number, some topics, and some relevant objects. For example, the 100s show a UFO, computer, library, newspaper, and Bigfoot.

The library surrounds an attractive courtyard, shown below.


"But what about the  adults?" you ask. Well, I did wander through the fiction stacks. I saw extensive ESL material adjacent to eight tutoring carrels "reserved all day for Learning Center Tutors." Fiction and Biography collections are followed by non-fiction. There is a large Indiana and Genealogy room with three word processors and a computer reserved for genealogy research. And some easy chairs facing windows provide a browsing space for the nearby periodicals.

At this point I had wandered to the wrong side of some caution tape. I didn't cross any tape, honest, but I had found a way through the maze, as it were. And a very nice gentleman with police insignia encouraged me to leave the area, as work was being done on the windows overhead. I guess I really was out of line. Sorry!

5/16/2017

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