Wednesday, June 7, 2017

457. Webber Park, Hennepin County Library

There has been a library in this neighborhood since 1910. It was remodeled in 1954 and renamed the John Deere Webber Memorial, erected by his parents C.C. and Mary Harris Webber.

I first visited Webber Library in the summer of 2012 when I started my quest to visit all the MELSA libraries. At that time it was a small, older building in Webber Park. There were some issues with the building, I don't recall exactly what, and the library moved temporarily into a storefront nearby. And now, ta-da, the new Webber Library opened a few weeks ago. What a wonderful addition for the neighborhood!

The exterior is warm and inviting, with a great use of wooden accents on the mostly stone building. I was intrigued by the details shown on the right, below, the way the wood is supported above ground level.

The overhanging roof provides a shaded spot with benches, while the various textures of stone provide visual interest.

Inside, this delightful mural backs the service desk. 

There are many spots for sitting and visiting, reading, or using a laptop. This corner of the building holds a conference room and the non-fiction, periodicals, and a casual seating area. I noticed that all non-fiction books, for adults and children, are shelved together, a very practical approach for smaller libraries.

I first saw this kind of storage and display for periodicals when the Walker Library opened in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. I like the way back issues can be stored while the current issue slips into a display pocket on the front.

Moving clockwise around the library, the next feature is the extensive community information board and literature display. This is close to a second conference/study room and the fiction and large print collections, plus westerns, science fiction, graphic novels, and teen fiction. The collections are small, but staff pointed out that the library was built with the idea that collections will grow; there is plenty of shelf space. Also, patrons have access through the catalog computers to the entire Hennepin County Library System collection, of course.

In order to keep patrons out of the picture, I could only catch one corner of the computer area. There are 24 public computers for Internet access, and many of them were in use.

Children's areas in libraries are full of surprises these days. This giant lighted pegboard is one. The plastic pegs can be moved to make wonderful patterns that glow with the light from below. Nearby shelves hold children's fiction and media, and there are bins of picture books, of course.

A major feature for children is this Nature Station. It features sturdy magnifying lenses and various specimens to study. A poster nearby models for adults the use of this activity: "Look at the tiny spots and veins on this leaf," and explains its value from a child's perspective: "When I use a magnifying glass, I am learning to use science tools."

Another sign nearby encourages tidying up after play: "When you make cleaning fun, you are teaching me to be considerate of others."

For some reason, it is rare to see special displays of early readers, like the one below. This display includes handouts for parents of children in kindergarten, first, and second grades from Reading Rockets, a really fine website.

As I was leaving, I decided to walk around the outside of the building rather than go directly to my car. I was rewarded by this calm area of natural features and benches. The water garden (dry on this day) is designed as a stream through the property, rather than the more common pond; very nice. An interpretive sign explains the plantings and purpose of the gardens.



Note: This site should have a number below 100, but because I can't find the post from my first visit here, I'm assigning the new number, 457. With this brand-new building, it certainly deserves one!