Friday, August 17, 2018

490 Ashtabula County District Library, Ashtabula, Ohio

I parked in a far corner of the lot in order to get some steps on my step counter. That enabled me to spot an intriguing sidewalk beside the building, and that led me to this beautiful garden spot.

Walking closer, I came to this scene, which I guessed would prove to be outside the children's area. (I was right.)

Into to the building. This display honors donors to the library. The top level, just out of sight, is "Community Visionaries." Then First Editions, Rare Editions, Classic, Best Seller, one that I can't quite read, and Poetry. Nice idea, nicely executed.

A book sale is coming up soon. In the case are some of the special items that will be for sale.

Immediately to the left of the entrance is a snack bar with a kitchenette, vending machines, and seating. A few of the books in the on-going book sale are visible at the left.

This large card catalog is still full of...catalog cards, of course. It has not been updated since the early 90s when the catalog was digitized. Another of similar size is in the non-fiction area.

The summer reading program is just ending.

Want to be a super hero? Step behind the painted refrigerator box, poke your head through, and have your picture taken.

Book racks on wheels feature new books for kids and adults, and a rack of books in Spanish. Look closely at the upper half of the picture, to the right of center.

Did you look where I said? Did you spot the eaves of this charming porch? This is one of the greatest children's room features I've ever seen. It really is made to be a full-size wrap-around porch, with rockers of various styles and sizes and window boxes of flowers.

The space behind the porch windows is the program room. I heard this called "Children's Cottage" and "Storybook Cottage." Either is totally appropriate.

Another feature of the children's area is this circular seating area in front of a large aquarium.

Six computers are available for kids to use. Notice that the tables look somewhat like rustic picnic tables, and the benches are wide enough for two kids to share a computer.

The picnic table, or perhaps porch furniture, theme continues in this corner with its circular windows and landscape view. The shrubs seen through the largest window are part of the garden we looked at outside.

At one point I looked back and realized that the cottage is more than a porch. From here, you can see the entire "cottage."

In contrast to the cozy cottage for kids, the central area has modern study tables with outlets for plugging electronics. The seats at the right face a fireplace flanked by tall windows. Papers and periodicals are close by.

Across the library from the children's area there are stacks of fiction with all the usual genres plus Historical, Classics, and Christian. Paperbacks are on wall shelves.

It's only as I completed a circuit of this area that I got a clue about something I almost missed. This framed picture shows the original Carnegie library. This library got off to a good start with a bequest from Maria Conklin, a local resident. Carnegie always required matching funds from the recipients of his gifts, and Ms. Conklin's gift certainly met his requirements.

Ashtabula had a subscription library as early as 1813. In 1903 the new library was opened as the "Carnegie Conklin Library." This site gives the story since that date, including a fire and various relocations, additions, and renovations. The most recent renovation was just two years ago.

The transition between the new and old parts of the building is up eight steps (a lift is available) and along a short passageway that serves as an art gallery.

Here is another view of the Carnegie Conklin Library.

The upper space has comfortable reading areas and the non-fiction, biography, and reference collections. There are 20 or more computers, enough of them in use that I could not get a decent shot. There is a reference desk, complete with a librarian, and a Genealogy Archive Room. A set of stairs led to an upper level; I didn't go up. [I don't think it would have been allowed, and certainly not encouraged.]

When I returned to the newer building, I saw this poster. I've enlarged it so you can read at least the headings and the words in the starburst shapes.

This bright area couldn't be anything other than the teen space. This is the first library where I remember seeing a glass-enclosed gaming room., where two teen boys were playing something very active--visible and silent, thanks to the glass walls.

Did I go into the teen area? Heck, no. I tend to stay out of teen areas, and after seeing this sign...I wouldn't think of it! Unless I had a teen escort, of course. It's nice that the last line provides this option.

I'll end with some architectural details. The first is from the entrance to the modern building, looking outward. The second is 180 degrees the other way.

And finally I walked around the building to where I could get this picture. Arriving from the direction I did, I had no clue that this awaited me.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

489 Olean Public Library, Olean, New York

Here we go again.... Somehow, somewhere between the camera and the blog a picture will be rotated. I'm working on a solution and will replace the affected pictures when I figure it out.

To the left as you enter is the children's area. These two rugs lining one row in the stacks really caught my eye. There are some pillows down at the end, just waiting for a kid to come curl up with a book.

Shelves and furniture define the area for toddler play. That's a bright rug hanging on the wall; the "bugs" have velcro that allows them to be stuck anywhere on the rug. When I was there, a dad was lifting his youngster so the child could move some bugs. After that, he got a large stuffed dog down from a shelf so the kid could snuggle on it. Nice interaction. Nearby is a large collection of parenting materials, including books and media.

There are two rows of "Easy Fiction," also known as chapter books. There are also plenty of picture books, of course. It appears that E and J non-fiction are shelved together, with a good-sized E on the spine of the picture books. I've noticed that it's difficult these days to decide whether a non-fiction book with large pages and many pictures should be E or J. Many non-fiction books for kids make look like picture books, but have large amounts of text or are written in a way that would only be appropriate for school-age children. It's often a tough call; I think that intershelving the two levels is part of a reasonable solution.

This crayon-shaped device is a Krayon Kiosk, a center with three iPads with programming for kids two through eight. The third iPad is on the far side, with a small boy totally engrossed in some game. I never saw one of these before!

This row of double chairs with tables between them runs down the center of the adult section of the library. Periodicals line this area. They subscribe to QST, a ham radio magazine that I haven't seen for ages. There is an aquarium down by the windows. The usual major newspapers are available, and there are also issues of eight to twelve "small town" and special interest papers; more than usual, I think.

I don't come across many libraries these days that are still circulating VHS tapes. There aren't very many of them left, and I'm guessing that the library is doing as others have done: circulate them until they break, because...why not?

I also spotted some older, classic books in the collection that have been re-bound. Such books are not common these days, but I did see them, just a few, at one other library on this trip. The ones I spotted were biographies of Captain Kidd and the Kennedys.

There are about a dozen computers for patrons to use, as well as desks for laptops or study. Large print books are shelved along the walls, while reference, YA, and fiction are in the stacks. There seems to be an extra large collection of biographies. Paperbacks are on the large spinners you see here.

I like this table that has been laminated (or maybe decoupaged?) with cutouts from comic books.

Framed art prints are availble for loan. These used to be more common; I rarely see art for loan these days.

On my way out through the lobby I noticed that the library has an on-going food drive. In the three month period of March, April, and May, they collected 353.4 pounds of food.

Is Autumn coming? I spotted these colored leaves on the ground by my car. Oddly, there weren't any colored leaves on the tree, just green ones. It's a little early to see colored leaves, but I'm sure ready for cool, crisp weather.


488 Your Home Library -- Johnson City, New York

I was scanning the map for my New Hampshire trip and saw a town that appeared to be in the right place. I found the website: Would it be open on the day I got there? Check. And at the time I expected to be there? Check. But the clincher was the name I found when I went to the website: Your Home Public Library. Intriguing. So it went into the itinerary.

The children's librarian told me that the library name can make for some interesting phone conversations, when people think that it is their home library, no matter where they live.

I was given a paper with "a brief history" of Your Home Library. Here's the condensed version, minus a lot of details:

* March 9, 1917, the idea of the library was formed by the Johnson City Literary Society.
* The house that had been erected in 1885 became the library building.
* A large addition was built in 1920, and the Children's Room was moved to the new space.
* The library was owned and supported by the Endicott Johnson Corporation (shoes) until September, 1921.
* The Village of Johnson City purchased the library in 1938.

The first thing I spotted inside was a display of scientific "toys" that can be checked out by anyone at least 18 years old. Some examples: Magnetic Science, Science Microscope, Electric Snap Circuits, and K-Nex. This is a great idea, and one I haven't seen before.

Near the science materials is a handsome brick fireplace with a classic frieze--and racks of T-shirts for sale. [I would have, but I couldn't find my size.]

There are at least four public computers. The old card catalog is being used here, as at so many other libraries, as a seed catalog.

Here's a bright, casual corner for readers.

As with most libraries that were once residences, there are nooks and crannies for each type of material: fiction and non-fiction books, media, and reference. I could not get a picture of the space visible between the two stacks here, because it was occupied, but I made a note that it is very bright and cheerful...perhaps once a porch.

I spotted this in the Teen area: free comics! We've come a long way from the days when comics in a library would be anathema!

Heading to the back of the building, into the "new" addition (it's not quite 100 years old), we find the children's area. Large windows make the room burst with light and energy. This is just a sample of the many books on offer for the youngsters. I didn't see it, but I understand that there is a program room above this room, approximately the same size!

For some reason I get a kick out of finding these sloping reading desks. The librarian told me that they often cover the table with paper and put out crayons. The most recent paper had just been removed.

The play area for little kids is in front of the fireplace. Adult seating gives parents a place to watch and visit...or they can get down and play with the kids. Both are good.

Here's another view of the large collection of books and media for kids...

...and here is one more.

I had parked out back of the library, where I spotted these signs. The Friends have their own space, apparently, and book sales are held at specific times.