Take this corner of the children's area, for example. I especially like the googly eyes that are getting caught reading. And the carpeted steps give kids plenty of places to sit.
Step back for a wider view and you see the wooden cube with round openings on the sides and pillows inside plus the whimsical flower-shaped floor cushions.
Something I like in this library is the use of color on the walls and signs. And the large 3D letters on the signs designating different areas are very effective. Watch for them in other pictures.
At another part of the kids area I spotted some skinny signs, barely an inch high, on the front of a couple of shelves. One read "Snakes can't slither on glass," and the other "Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated." I can easily imagine kids coming in and looking to see if any new tidbits have been displayed; this is just the sort of trivia many kids like.
I like this "Good readers..." poster well enough that I jumped through all the hoops required to rotate it for legibility. You could base a whole course on "how to teach reading" on this poster. If I had the power (I do not) I would track down a copy of this and post it in the elementary school where I used to tutor kids in reading.
Teens get an extra twist to their sign with the contrasting colors. And teens alway seem to be the ones who get a big-screen TV for DVDs and gaming.
Adults are treated to a spacious living room setting for browsing periodicals and large print books.
Another view of the browsing area shows how steep the hill is on which the library is built. It appears that we are looking out a second-floor window, because the street is so far below. Crystal Falls is surely a city built on a hill.
What have I missed? Let's me check my notes.
- A sign reads "Library staff has the right to restrict adult use in the youth areas." That's a nice flexible statement. Other places I've seen time restrictions, allowing adult use when school is in session, for example. But I like the flexibility here.
- A scanning station is available with a laptop and a scanner. I know that patrons often want to use a scanner, but they seem to be rare. In one library, a sign asked patrons to please refrain from cutting pictures or articles out of periodicals; instead, they could ask staff to make a copy or scan the material needed. [That library also said that if the small price for scanning or printing was a problem, just ask.]
- Barcodes are used for checking out material, but books still have date slips that are stamped with the date due. I've often wished that I had the date due at hand in a library book I'm reading; it would be much more convenient than going on line to check my account or looking for the checkout receipt. Larger libraries, of course, are moving to self-checkout with computer-generated date due slips. Larger is not always better.
Public libraries increase in importance when school libraries disappear. I learned that here in Crystal Falls, the high school library has been re-purposed as a computer lab and meeting room, as if the Internet could serve all needs for finding and evaluating information. The elementary school is doing better, with its library maintained by four volunteers, three former teachers and a former school librarian. In these days of tight budgets, that's a wonderful solution, and the school is fortunate to have such professional resources available.