Friday, July 28, 2017

458 Ely Public Library, Ely, Minnesota

Some years ago I took a Continuing Education course through the Architecture department at the U of M. My one takeaway from that course is that buildings need a sense of "entrance" -- and the Ely library certainly has such a sense. The entranceway is sheltered, and leads clearly to the door. It's very welcoming.


The library sign gets a bit lost against the pattern of stones. However, on the adjacent wall to the left a larger sign is much more eye-catching. Sorry, no picture. I didn't see it until I returned from a walk to the Chocolate Moose, and at that point I was focused on getting to my car and heading for my next stop. And I was a bit out of breath...Ely is rather hilly!



A place to sit before entering the library, or perhaps while waiting for a ride, is welcome and often found. But it's not often as unusual as this metal bench with a dragonfly pattern. [Hmmm...something similar at the Lanesboro, MN library, perhaps?]


The Ely library, like most libraries, is full of interesting things to see. In the lobby, there is a display of Native artifacts labeled Native People on Burntside. A model of the library, built of Legos, is in a protective case.


Further along, there is a display of art by Cecilia Rolando. (Sorry, I didn't get a picture.) Stained glass windows overlook this bright corner with places for reading and study. I am totally kicking myself for not getting a picture of the newspapers on sticks. [This is what happens when I walk around first, then get permission to take pictures; I forget some of the spots I wanted to return to.] Suffice it to say, there were many papers, and the sticks, of course, are classic.


Someone must have a green thumb, because the library is livened by the presence of living plants on many of the shelves. There are two study rooms, sized for individual use or perhaps a twosome.The six computers for Internet access were all in use, four by kids and two by adults. There was also at least one patron making use of the library's wi-fi with her her personal laptop. In another spot I saw a sign reminding patrons to respect copyright laws when using wifi; there was a clear indication that this has been a problem at least once.


All shelves are labeled consistently with black-framed signs, like the one you can see below. They provide information and a touch of instruction, with content like this:
Fiction
Hardcovers
M-P
In order by author
Call number begins
with "F" followed by a
space and 3 letters

This welcoming spot in the children's area uses the space under a window seat to store foam mats or pads. To the right is a large space with adult seating, probably used for programs. One wall is stone, like the exterior wall, and I'd actually written "fireplace" in my notes before I realized that, no, there is no fireplace, just an attractive stone wall that looks as if it would like to have a fireplace.


Shelving for J Fiction and Picture Books forms a rectangle around a colorful rug and a small table.



I had been to Ely once before, in the mid-1980s, so I followed my library visit with a walk through part of the town. I was rewarded by spotting this mini-library space between a yarn shop and another business. I don't think the width is much more than eight feet. The canoe-shaped shelves are well stocked. In addition to the seating, there were several hula-hoops hanging on the fence in the left foreground, and a box of sidewalk chalk was available for your artistic impulses. Very cool.


Finally, I had one memory of Ely I wanted to check out, and that was the Chocolate Moose. It's the building on the left below. I remembered it as an ice cream place; it has evolved into a full-fledged restaurant. Not wanting a solid lunch (though perhaps I should have), I got my ice cream fix with a bakery treat a la mode. The ice cream was as good as I had remembered, and the chocolate mousse cake was extraordinary!


7/27/2017

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