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.


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