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?