Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Leabharlann Chiarrai

My sister and her husband are traveling in Ireland. She kindly sent me this picture of a library sign. Yes, in Irish "Leabharlann" means library. No, I can't pronounce it for you. Even after listening to it several times in translation software, I can't begin to say it.

They have a nice website here:  http://www.kerrylibrary.ie/

Chiarrai is the place name.


Monday, August 28, 2017

471 Kress Family Library, De Pere, Wisconsin

The final stop on an 11-day trip was here in De Pere, Wisconsin. close by Green Bay. This is one branch of the Brown County Library. The other is the Weyers-Hilliard Library, covered in my last post. I did not make it to the central library. A prominent sign celebrates 125 years of the Brown County Library, 1889-2014. The history of the library, available at the Brown County Library website (http://www.browncountylibrary.org), gives a timeline of the library from 1889 to 2007, as it added and shed branches, relocated, gained and lost buildings. In 1903 it was the first Carnegie library in Wisconsin.

OK, that was information that perhaps should have waited until I got to the central library, but who knows when that will be?

The Kress Family Branch opened in 2003.

I believe there are a total of 16 public Internet computers, spread out in two locations. Like Weyers-Hilliard, Kress also has "Think Tank" study rooms; I spotted three. I think they have a nice, sleek, no-distractions vibe, and the glass walls allow group work to remain quiet and staff to keep an eye out.

This study area, bright with natural daylight even on a drizzly day, has a mirror image on the other side of the building.

Between the two study areas is a handsome fireplace and a baby grand piano. And patrons scattered throughout, challenging my angle-finding skills, such as they are. Periodicals and newspapers are close by.

The Francis branch of the South Bend, IN, library, also has a piano. There, a sign says "Do you play? If you'd like to play a few pieces, ask at the desk." Here, the sign tells us that the "Piano ... provided by an anonymous donor." Nothing about playing it, or not. I wasn't tempted.


Moving away from this casual setting, I came to the adult non-fiction stacks, where I noted that biographies are shelved separately, rather than spread through the collection by topic. Personally, I like shelving them this way.

This large clock caught my eye. I wonder whether it is an antique, or a modern clock made to look antique. Perhaps it is from an earlier library or town building?

Now we come to the children's area, where a very long two-step window seat is well stocked with cushions.

This large program area allows plenty of room for groups of kids, plus various storage options under a long shelf. I enjoyed the octopus on the wall, struggling to keep track of "So Many Books!"

A separate shelf near J non-fiction holds a large collection of books about states and countries. I checked the two New Hampshire titles, and found that they were published in 2010 and 1999/2008. Perhaps the library needs a benefactor with an interest in geography to provide some newer editions? Just sayin' ...

Rover Reader Booster Packs hold books, games, and puppets for various topics. I like "Rover Reader" as a mascot name.


Another part of the children's area is brightened by these paper flowers, made and donated by Girl Scout troop 4612. Nice work, girls!


Your Library, Your Community, Your World
This "Sustainability Center" promotes recycling books through a book sale. Around the corner to the left I spotted a medal won this past summer by the teens of this branch in a "Battle of the Book" among the various branches. Congratulations! This event involved reading a specified set of books, then answering questions about those books in a trivia contest.


470 Weyers-Hilliard Public Library, Green Bay, Wisconsin

After a 10-day trip to visit family [and libraries], I was due for some gray skies and drizzle, and they caught up with me here in Green Bay. But weather does not affect library visits...

...especially when a library is designed with a large sheltered entrance. Like the Francis branch of the South Bend, IN, library system, this building pays homage to the agricultural history of the area.

The interior carries out the theme, with a high wooden ceiling that suggests "barn as cathedral." I like the use of wood and the light fixtures.

"Gathering around the fire" is a time-honored way to create community, and almost every sizable library I visit has a fireplace, as in this example.

I got lucky...nobody was sitting in this comfortable corner, so I could get the picture below. I don't know for sure, but that fireplace looks to me as if it can actually be used. Many library fireplaces are gas, decorative only, or high-tech, like Shoreview, Minnesota, where light shining on vapor looks like gentle flames. This one looks real. [If I'm wrong, leave a comment and sort me out!]

It intrigues me that so very many libraries these days have a table set aside for jigsaw puzzles. I like the idea, and if any of my "home" library branches did this, I would probably give it at least a few minutes on each visit.

This picture doesn't quite show what caught my eye, but if you look carefully you can see that the work surface forms a gentle "S". Libraries are often very linear; a curve here and there is eye-catching.

Near the beginning of the stacks I found the rental DVDs, adult graphic novels, and ... cake pans! A sign invited folks to "help us build our collection" of cake pans. I first saw cake pans and the like for loan in Osage, Iowa; it seems to be a growing trend, enabling folks to bake that fancy cake without investing in a special pan...or to give a special pan a new life after the Star Wars birthday cake is gone!

In the non-fiction stacks, bold signs on the top of the shelves guide patrons to the general area of interest. The car repair collection is small, but a sign on that shelf directs patrons to websites that may provide the help they need. This is a nice example, I think, of new, on-line resources, supported by the old.

Another corner, with windows and a large, living plant, provides a comfortable browsing area.

If, instead of browsing, some serious work and study is your goal, you can choose one of these tables or carrels.

This poster provides a light touch, but since when do kids need more excuses? I think this is near the teen area.

There are six "Think Tank" rooms, with natural light and glass walls. This is the large room; the other five are designed for up to four people. I understand that they are quite new, and I'm sure they'll be popular once school starts. The sign invites you to "reserve one today."

Now we arrive at the children's area. This storage for "big books" is on casters, which is very convenient. The carpeted area is large enough that a big book could be read to a medium-sized group, or it could be wheeled to another area. I like the rack on top, over-sized to hold a big book open.

Curves again, now in the play area for the littlest kids. This round room holds toys and board books.

The wooden train engine is large enough to provide various seating choices for little kids. 

This area looks into the round room we just saw. The wooden steps lend themselves to seating or a small stage. The blue panel at the left is a felt board, with a variety of felt items in the basket.

Nearby, the Junior non-fiction collection has topic signs similar to those in the adult area. There are also sections for parenting books and E non-fiction.

I like this corner for school-age kids. Under the "Fun Fact Activity Corner" sign are riddles (yellow) and questions (green) to answer and then check. The shelves to the left provide all sorts of quiet activities for kids to try.


A final look at the children's area gives a general view, including another look at that engine. See the cut-outs on the chair backs? Have you read the recent post that shows chairs with animal cut-outs?

As I left, I spotted this good-looking panel that honors the donors who enabled the building of this handsome library back in 2001.

When I left the library, I took a picture of one of the two solar arrays in the parking lot. They look as if they are part of the library, but I didn't talk to anyone about them and I couldn't find info on the library web page. Perhaps someone reading this can enlighten us?


Brevort Township Community Center and Library, Moran, Michigan

I didn't actually visit this library, but I spotted the universal "Library" sign and pulled over to take a picture.
  Image result for universal library sign

This is an affiliate of the Bayliss Public Library. I like the wood and stone detailing at the entrance, which is a good enough reason to give it a spot in the blog. It's open 20 hours a week; if I can finesse the days and hours, I'll try to visit here on my next trip across the UP.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

428a Blind River Ontario Public Library

I got behind on my driving schedule and reached the Blind River library after it closed for the day. However,  I was able to meet my primary goal. If you were to go to blog entry 428, you would see these library steps wrapped in yellow CAUTION tape. I stopped in blind River on this trip for two reasons: the distance was good for that day's drive, and I wondered if they had managed to get the steps fixed. As you can see, they certainly did. There is no longer a need to walk around and use the back door!

I'm happy for you, Blind River Library!


469 Espanola Ontario Public Library

The Espanola library shares a building with a regional recreation complex. 

Signage is in French and English, and the town is located on the Spanish River. 

I was not given permission to take indoor pictures, although I pleaded that only one other library, out of 468, had turned down my request. And I mentioned the library where I was allowed to take pictures but promised not to post them until I had e-mail permission from the Director. No go. Ergo, no pictures.

In the lobby I noted bubble wrap in the bottom of the book drop. Nice way to cushion a book's arrival, and readily replaced when necessary. There was an unusually large offering of community literature, perhaps because the space is shared? There is a meeting room to the right.

A major project is underway, reflected in this sign: "Bear with us, we are rearranging your library. Please ask if you can't find items."  Rearranging any library is a major undertaking, but it seemed to be going well. I probably wouldn't have noticed, if I hadn't seen the sign.

Historic photographs are displayed along the wall, up high. I was intrigued by a picture of the "Espanola Arena 1917-1932." That building was erected to house workers who were building the mill. I learned that the mill in question is a paper mill, still in operation, which I saw on my way into town. I expressed surprise, since in my limited experience paper mills stink. I was assured that on some days, and from some directions, this mill lives up to that reputation.

Adult non-fiction and fiction are shelved on tall metal stacks, with genre fiction along the wall. Books of particular Canadian interest are marked with a red maple leaf sticker. A browsing area is near the periodical collection, and looks out on a football (soccer, in the USA) field, suggesting that a school is nearby.

The kids' area has foam chairs that look like a hand; you sit on the palm, and the upraised fingers create the back. There are also foam stools that look like jigsaw puzzle pieces. There is a computer for kids to use, with a 30-minute limit. In the area for the littlest kids there is a large (maybe four feet tall) wooden fire engine for seating and imaginative play, with picture books nearby.

The end wall of the children's area holds a series of glass-fronted displays of historical interest. I was told that these displays were brand-new; in fact, I think they were completed that very day.

When I left, I took one more (exterior) picture of this display of Canadian pride. Then I navigated my was through a gaggle of rather small hockey players. Watching them haul their gear, I wondered at the ratio of kid-size to gear-duffel-size. [I've wondered the same when I've seen my grand-nephew in Boston with his hockey kit.]


Royalton Memorial Library, South Royalton, VT

This will be a different kind of entry. First, I never saw the Royalton library. Second, no picture. Well, of course, you say...if you didn't see it, you couldn't take a picture. That's correct. In addition, my camera needed to be charged. [Downside of a camera that doesn't use batteries: it's easy to forget to charge it, and you can't just stop by a store and buy replacements.]

OK, so what did I see, and where? I was driving up I-89 in Vermont and stopped at one of their very nice rest stops. In addition to the usual facilities and displays, there was a long table spread with books, with an older woman, perhaps my age, "minding the store." The books were for sale by the Royalton, Vermont, Memorial Library. [The cookies were free, but donations were welcome.]

I went back to the car for my camera, then we chatted a bit and she gave me a brochure. She, or another volunteer, sits here every weekend, seeking donations. The brochure is mostly pictures of the library and its many programs. It includes a donation envelope that reads, in part:


Inside the library's brick walls generations of Royalton CHILDREN
and ADULTS have found a world of IMAGINATION,
lifelong LEARNING and ENRICHMENT. Our town's
library is an essential part of our COMMUNITY.

My camera didn't work, I didn't need a book, but I made a donation and a mental note to visit the Royalton Memorial Library the next time I'm driving across Vermont.

If you should happen to want to support this library, they accept PayPal donations on their website. www.royaltonlibrary.org.

Over and over I see that libraries want to survive and grow. This is a prime example.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

468 Laconia Public Library, Laconia, New Hampshire

I'm slow with this entry because I've spent too much time driving. And I may not do it justice because my laptop is on battery power in this motel room that has no grounded outlets for the power cord. I'm going to give it a shot, and I'll probably be back to smooth and edit in a day or so.

So... As you can see, this is a very handsome library. The original Gale Memorial Library is on the left in this picture, with the red roof. It was erected in 1901 to 1903. The addition, on the right, dates to 2006. In my judgement, the two buildings work very well together. In fact, from some angles, if you cannot see the two roofs, it's easy to think that it is a single structure.

In addition to the steps there is a long winding ramp for access.

This is one of the nicest honor walls I've seen. The background is a mosaic of enameled tiles, and the donors' names appear to be on pale green glass. Later in my visit the children's librarian told me that there is a mystery about the background. I studied it before leaving and couldn't spot what she had in mind. I asked a patron standing nearby if he saw anything; he did not, so it remains a mystery.

This room in the new building holds the fiction stacks. Like other libraries I've seen, almost every feature seems to have been sponsored. "Book stack sponsored by Shaw's Supermarket" caught my eye. When the supermarkets are contributing to a library, you know you have community buy-in.

Since I couldn't fly over, I settled for photographing this aerial view of the library and its surrounds.

I was surprised to learn that this oval balcony was part of the new addition. It gives interesting views from above and below.

The periodical reading room is in the old building, which accounts for its classic look...

...including the fireplace. The awkward angle is the result of the "no people in the pictures" rule.

And here is the round reading room.

Nearby is a plaque with the story of the Gale Memorial Library. It is barely legible in the picture; I suggest that you go to the Laconia, NH, library website for the interesting history of Mr. Gale, a banker, and the library.

The Teen area has game tables with checkerboard and backgammon in the tabletops, along with plenty of books and media. Four public computers are nearby.

I made a brief visit to the upper level, where there was an impressive display of memorabilia from when Laconia was a railroad hub.

The upper level of the new building houses the non-fiction collection.

In addition to a poster about the Dewey Decimal system, there are guilds sticking out from the non-fiction shelves. directing patrons to popular topics. A literary-themed sign asks patrons to "Keep calm and silence your cell phones."

I next took the elevator down to the lower level. A sign in or near the elevator said "No smoking on penalty of..."  The last word or words: illegible. Glad I don't smoke; I'm sure the penalty is really bad!

The lower level of the 1986 addition houses the entrance to a community meeting room, Rotary Hall, and the restrooms.

To the left as you come off the elevator a sign painted on the wall tells that you are entering the "Kiwanis Club Children's Room."

The computers below are in the children's area on the lower level of the older building.  This area has a sort of "lobby" area, shown here.

To the right is the program room, with glass walls which allow a view both in and out. I learned that sometimes an entire grade from a nearby school comes to the library--90 kids! On those days, the group must be split into several smaller groups and the program repeated.  That's a lot of kids!

A round space behind the children's service desk has this mural of sailboats on a lake (Laconia = lake).  I thought I also had a picture of the full-sized boat, but my camera must have hiccupped. It does that sometimes. Libraries with boats (and there are many) generally have some kind of "issue" around the boat. Here it is that toddlers try to climb in--and can't always succeed. White Bear Lake, Minnesota, for one, solved this with an opening in the side, rather like one of those walk-in bathtubs that seem to be advertised everywhere (but without a door). This enhances safety at the price of realism.

See the painted stones along the top of this shelf? There are many more. They are from the kids at a local parochial school, in thanks for services provided by the public library, as they have no school library. They came with the hope that they could be used for a rock garden, but so far they are all displayed in the children's area. The significance? "The library ROCKS!"

By the way, the Laconia public schools, I was told, have wonderful school libraries, with professional library staff and lively programs -- supplemented by the public library.

I'd been meaning to visit the Laconia library for some time, as I'd heard that it is excellent. It certainly seems to be. I do recommend the library web page.