Saturday, May 20, 2017

448 White Lake Community Library, Whitehall, MI

I'm in the middle of a six-day trip to visit libraries, and I keep being surprised. In this case, I'd been driving and driving, following the instructions of my GPS, no sign of a library or anything else...and suddenly I turn and discover the White Lake Community Library tucked into the forest! It really felt like reaching a park or nature preserve. I parked the car, then walked to the beginning of a paved trail with benches. Not really the beginning, because it seemed to be the continuation of a longer trail. What a wonderful way to approach a library!

At a certain point, the library is suddenly visible through the trees.

I heard the wind chime before I spotted it. The day was slightly breezy and the chimes were wonderful, deep and calm. The sign indicates that this is WINDWAVE by Cara O Brien, from 2005, placed here by the "Continuity Foundation for Muskegon County."

The lobby provides access to a meeting room and accessible restrooms. The picture below gives an overall sense of the library's tone, quiet and attractive with classic design features like the desk lamp.

The children's area is to the left as you enter. As you can see, the local schoolchildren have been busy with art, creating a nice display for the library. There are multiple backpacks with themed contents, like Fairy Tales, Telling Time, and Geology; some have labels indicating that they were sponsored by the local Rotary.

It's possible to check out a pass to "the children's museum." A pass provides one day of free admission for up to six people, but don't try to abuse it: only one pass per family per year.

DVDs can be rented for $1.00 a day.

A small room adjacent to the children's area has a shelf/desk and four chairs. It's called the Quiet Time Room, and "the door must be open at all times." Several signs state rules for use of the library, prefaced with "In order to maintain a pleasant and secure atmosphere for all patrons..."

Picture books are labeled "Juvenile Easy" and shelves throughout the library have these handsome metal signs. I was told that these are made by a local business, which is especially nice.

It's pretty common that libraries near water provide a boat of some sort for creative play. Here, it's a tidy and handsome rowboat on a small pond.

The Teen area has chairs, tall tables, funky lights, and a nice corner view into the woods.

In fact, every corner of the library has views into the woods. 


This view out the window shows one of the benches available for reading (or just sitting) on pleasant days. I spotted a sign asking for folks to "help us feed the birds" by contributing to the bird seed fund.

Two fireplaces, back to back, add charm. In the left-hand picture, notice the doors to each side of the fireplace, allowing this room to be closed for quiet reading, or perhaps for a book club meeting.


A few more comments about the library:

  • Canvas bags called "Adult Vitality Kits" contain themed books, DVDs, and audio CDs. They can be borrowed for one week at a time, no renewals. These sound similar to "Memory Kits" available in my home library system. The idea, I believe, is to provide experiences for older adults and their caregivers to share. I expect to see more of these as I continue my library visits.
  • Adult mysteries have very helpful numbers on the spines, indicating the chronological sequence of the series. Very helpful if you are new to an author and want to read his or her books in order!
  • A study/history room has four carrels, two with computers, one with a computer for the library catalog and Ancestry Plus only.
  • One of the best ideas I've heard for Friends of the Library book sales: The local group looks up books (donated or de-accessioned) on line, then sells them for half the on-line price. This is a deal for the buyer and makes more money, in many cases, than guessing the value of older and special books. They shared with me the best place to look up these books: 

As I was about to leave, I fortuitously looked up and back and thus saw the ceiling details shown below.

I'd like to come back sometime to walk the trails and relax in this library. Now I must do some research myself to see why I wrote "Paddle to the Sea sequel" in my notes!



  1. Ellen-
    It was great meeting you on your quest to visit libraries!

    The watercolor artwork you pictured was done by Mr. Dan Meinert's fifth grade class at Ealy Elementary. These art pieces serve as book covers for their own versions of "Paddle-to-the-Sea".

    The trail to the library you mentioned is part of our bike trail system. The White Lake Pathway also features artwork along the trail. "Windwave" is one of the installations here at the library.

    1. Thanks for the details, Pam. I recall now that you said the kids had written sequels to "Paddle." And Windwave, well, what can I say? I want it in my yard!

  2. Lovely write-up. However, the Windwave installation was funded via the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. Cara O'Brien. Also, not a huge big deal, but online is usually not spelled with a hyphen. And not sure what de-accessioned means. The metal signs are made by Whitehall Products. Just suggestions for you to use or not.


Comments are welcomed, and I will generally respond to them. Please be tasteful; comments that are in poor taste will be deleted.
Sorry about the "verification" step; I added it after a rash of spammish comments.