I arrived at Babbitt with greetings for the local librarian from the librarian at my last stop. This partly explains why I spent most of my time talking to the librarian in her office, which was great fun; it doesn't happen often. However, time spent chatting is time spent not taking notes! But I think I captured all my favorite bits in the pictures below.
The library is part of the municipal center. Here's a view of the entrance, from the parking lot...
...and here is a charming metal sculpture, mounted on the wall to the right of the entrance.
At first glance, I thought this was a table of prizes for the summer reading program. I quickly realized that it's a collection of items for sale by the Friends of the Library. Nearby was a cart of yarn, also for sale by the Friends at a very generous $1.00 a skein!
A recent development is this attractive seating area, a memorial to Ray Rikhus. You can just glimpse the periodicals behind the sofa on the right. Babbitt is pretty far north, in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota, on the Iron Range. I was assured that "Rangers" are very much into the northern lights, and this is clear from the handsome picture above the fireplace. I have only seen the northern lights once, from St. Paul, and they were so subtle I didn't realize at first what I was seeing. I should get north more often.
Two snowy owls have taken up residence on top of a bookshelf. My picture does not do them justice.
The day before, children had been in to paint rocks from Lake Superior. And why should kids have all the fun? The day I was there, adults and teens were arriving for their turn. Check out the Babbitt Library on Facebook to see the older crowd in action.
Another program coming up for adults involves cookbooks, recipes, and sharing food, almost certain to be a winner.
While you're on Facebook, scroll down and you'll find a picture of teenage library patrons hanging out in this space.
A variety of shelving units have been combined here to create a lively area with "inner" and "outer" spaces formed by unexpected angles.
Every corner of the library has something to see, including this quilt. Other quilts are shown --where else?--on Facebook.
None of the computers were being used when I was there, but they are ready to go. Take a look at the antique map on the wall in the right-hand background. Looks like a large poster, right? That's what I thought.
I was blown away to learn that this is actually a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. I think it must be close to four by five feet, and the jigsaw pieces are the normal size you'd expect in a 1000-piece puzzle. I learned that it was assembled in just a week by library patrons, somewhere off-site. (Where do you even find a flat surface that size?) The puzzle was then coated with glue...and donated to the library! How do you transport something of this size and fragility? That wasn't part of the story!
The walls in the children's area have a fresh, bright coat of paint.
I realize that a lot of things I usually mention are not covered here. Be assured, the library has shelves of fiction and non-fiction for all ages, media, everything that you'd expect to find. The treasures here are in the people. Before I left, everyone invited me to stay for the rock painting (and I was tempted). Lisa, the librarian, was very generous of her time. If you are ever in Babbitt, stop in at the library; it's one of the friendliest libraries around!
Oh, and if you are looking for a place to donate books, I learned that here they add to their collection any donations that are not already in the collection; the rest go to the Friends of the Library book sale. I know that at many libraries, donated books are rarely if ever considered for the library collection. I've been clearing out my bookshelves, and I was happy to leave a bunch of books here.