Sunday, June 3, 2018

475 Mercer Wisconsin Public Library

This attractive log building houses the Mercer, Wisconsin, Library; the community center is attached to the left. When I entered, I immediately spotted a sign inviting me to "Borrow this telescope" for a week. The telescope must have already been borrowed. Nearby were shelves offering cake pans, games, puzzles, home energy monitors, all of which I've seen at other libraries. And a monster pressure cooker, which I have not seen! "Memory Kits" are also available. I see these in more and more libraries. They tend to include music, books, and "real stuff" to encourage conversation between caretakers and people with memory loss. I think many of us associate libraries with literacy services for young children; libraries are now meeting more needs at the other end of life with "memory kits" and special programs.

Four Internet computers are available.

This handsome table bears a sign indicating that it is "the jigsaw puzzle table."

The coat tree with bear cub made me wish I had a jacket to hang up!

I've always associated John Muir with redwood trees and such, not with Wisconsin. These free-standing panels tell a more complete story. I assume this is a traveling exhibit.

Back in the day, Carnegie libraries were noted for having tall windows, windows that usually started at about head-height on an adult; it was quite the thing to have natural light inside a library. Nowadays it's much more common to find whole walls of windows, right down to the floor. Almost every library I visit has at least one comfortable area with visual access to nature.

I like the multicultural rug in the children's area. I don't think I've seen this one before.

These colorful "Travel With Me" backpacks provide books, CDs, and "things" related to a given topic. Short on time? Need to get to the cabin before the rain strikes? Grab a backpack and a kid should be set for a couple of days!

In the backpack picture, look for the clipboard on the windowsill. It is used to keep a record of birds seen at the feeders outside. Several were listed from recent days, including a hummingbird.

As a former miniaturist and dollhouse builder, I always like to see models like this on display. This was created by someone local.

Plenty of books for young readers...

The pre-reading crowd can participate in "1000 Books Before Kindergarten," a program that encourages literacy through reading to children every day.

A meeting room is available for programs.

Here's another cozy corner for sitting and enjoying a book or magazine.

This corner of the library is in the process of becoming the Memory Room. Equipment will be available to convert old media to new. This space was once the book sale room. It was cleared out, the books sold, and bit by bit equipment will be added. When this is ready to go, I expect it will be busy. Mercer is very fortunate to have dedicated space for this purpose. I know of other cases where equipment is shared among libraries; when it is at a given library, it is always fully booked.

I first noticed the stone front on the service desk in a picture on the library's website. When I asked about it, I learned only that the rocks used to be in someone's yard. There are a kitchen and an office behind this desk.

I'm sorry about this picture being displayed like this. When I took the picture, it was in landscape format. When I selected it for the blog, it was landscape. When I added it to the blog, presto! Right before my eyes, it rotated. And I haven't found a way to fix it!

This fireplace room was at one time the whole library. Now it is a friendly "living room" and houses the periodical collection.

I can't leave this library without mentioning the hats. Each of these masterworks has a card indicating the event it was made for. I should have asked. I'm not a hat-wearing person, but I must say, these are handsome and creative. Perhaps someone will read this and leave a clarifying comment. Please?

Time to drive to St. Paul through the intermittent rain storms. At least they are not thunderstorms!


Saturday, June 2, 2018

474 Phelps Wisconsin Public Library

I've been SOOO slow getting this post written, and the handwriting in my notebook is SOOO illegible. Let's see what I can do.

The visit starts in a lobby and hall which hold a "sale" of weeded books. It's not quite a sale because you are free to take books, but "donations are welcome."

A display shows the covers of new DVDs. I thought that this meant that the disks must be kept separately, but it seems that all covers are in binders. This makes for easier browsing than trying to read the titles on the shelf with your head at a 90-degree angle.

Shelves are full!

There are three Internet computers, plus one for the catalog and one for kids.

Right above the "Childrens Fiction" sign there is a rack of DVDs, "A to Z of the Ancient World." Further along there is another rack with animal DVDs...see the tiger?

A child-sized desk holds some toys, and I'm sure the two dolls would share their seat with a kid if asked nicely.

I got a kick out of this "Snoopy's Dog House" Shelf, with the ace pilot himself flying along above it.

Newbery Award books have their own space, as do the Caldecott books.

It would be unusual to find a library without a collection of locally-themed books, like the one you see here.

The signage for various collections is very attractive. You can see one sign above the law books. Another example is visible in the Children's Fiction picture.

Ive been to a lot of libraries, but I still keep seeing "something new." Here, it's the cardboard object that creates a "standing desk." Standing desks are good for you, very trendy, and very pricey. I understand that this is adjustable, available on line, and NOT very pricey. Pretty darned neat, if you ask me!

Phelps is participating in the "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" program that is designed to raise literacy among the youngest patrons. The blue-bordered cards taped to the office door represent kids who have reached their goal. [Keep going, kids...more reading is always better!]

Adults are made welcome with these two VERY comfy-looking chairs. I believe there is a second moveable table tucked behind the chair on the left.

I've learned over the years that you always want to look UP when leaving a library. More than a few will reward you with a mural or other display. In case you didn't already know that you are in lake country and summer cottage country, here's an attractive reminder.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

454a Walter E. Olson Memorial Library, Eagle River, WIO

It's been almost exactly a year since I first visited Eagle River. On my earlier visit, the library had been shoe-horned into a former medical office while their building was totally remodeled. And now...ta-dah! The library has expanded into its new space and looks very much at home.

I entered here, from the parking lot. After giving myself a tour of the children's area (we'll get to that), I found Nan the Librarian and, as before, she offered a tour. And that was a good thing...there are so many things to see here! I'm sure I missed some in my pictures, but I'd have missed more without a guide.

The library hosts a "quilt of the month" by a local resident on the wall in the entrance lobby.

Rather than take up huge amounts of space on the facing wall, or have to compromise on what can be posted, the library uses this set of moveable "pages" to display announcements.

Picture books are shelved on metal racks. A rail across the front of each shelf allows the full covers to be seen, but keeps books from flipping onto the floor. Most shelves in this area are mounted on casters, making it possible to move them and create more open space for programs.

One of the first things I spotted here among the kids fiction was a rebound copy of Chronicles of Avonlea. I'm sure it was rebound long ago...does anyone even do that any more? I like it as a sign of using resources well; some people would toss the old copy and (maybe) replace it with a new paperback.

I took the picture from this angle in order to show the frog chair. Out of the picture to the right was a cat chair of similar design, but people were "in the way." I always like to see people in a library, of course, but there are times when I might wish they were...perhaps just a few feet to the left? Or somewhere.

Chairs are a definite theme here. If you were shopping for chairs for a library, I'd suggest that you skip the supply catalogs and come to Eagle River. Ask Nan to show you around; she knows the advantages of every single chair: casters, comfort, special purposes. Here you see several of the round, or nearly round, seats that can be moved to created different configurations. In the background are the children's computers with "S chairs" in two sizes, for small and medium kids.

Out of frame here are three rockers, two sized for kids and one for an adult. And there are others that I'm sure I've missed.

Here's an example of shelves on casters. I forgot to ask what is hidden under the fabric in the background, but I do know that it is adjacent to the popcorn machine!

OK, before you read on, see if you can guess what this is. I inadvertently made the task harder because there is nothing to indicate scale. If this were truly vertical, you might guess "large vase" or "one of these things where you roll coins inside." Nope, this is actually another chair, called a "spin chair!" It is large enough for an adult to sit on, and it rolls around in place. Nan demonstrated, and I wish I'd taken a picture then! I was told that some children are especially fond of this. [I'm not sure how many adults use it; I'm sorry to say, I didn't try. [I just googled "spin chair" and found plenty of examples, including some from IKEA, but nothing quite like this.]

Update: I tried again and found a picture showing an adult enjoying a very similar chair. I really wish I had tried it!

This good-sized meeting room can be closed off from the rest of the library with folding glass doors, allowing for sound control and visual access. On the day I was there, the room hosted a juried art exhibit from an organization in Land of Lakes, Wisconsin.

A variety of high-tech toys...oops, I mean tools...can be borrowed for use in the library. This display is near an area that holds eight computers for adults plus printers and other "office center" equipment.

Some libraries use a long window wall for study carrels. Here there are comfy chairs interspersed with small tables. Window walls allow natural light, of course, and visual interest, but another emphasis here is that the windows look out on a residential street, making a visual link between the library and the community.

Eagle River is one of many small towns up here in vacation country. One display that caters to visitors is this collection of maps for bikers, hikers, and anglers. Items here provide more information that pieces usually available for free, and they can be checked out for three weeks.

Can you guess what this is? Of course, it's a tower for growing plants hydroponically! The library's seed collection is nearby. This was funded by donations, and I understand that thanks to one individual, the fundraising went very quickly! The group that deals with this and the seeds includes a Master Gardener.

It's rare to find a library that does not give at least a nod to local history. Here, the historical materials are protected in a glass case.

The teen area includes equipment for gaming, both computer games and table games, as well as more traditional library materials. Bookcases of YA materials are on casters, allowing adjustment of space at this end of the library.

I wish I had taken a "full length" picture of the interior. If I had, it would show that the library has a long "spine" with all the spaces we've been looking at spaced along it, from the children's area at one end to the "living room" at the other.

Between the window wall we saw earlier and the teen area, there is a "living room" with more comfortable chairs (of course) and a jigsaw puzzle underway. The wall facing the fireplace holds periodicals and newspapers in tidy plexiglass storage/display boxes.

This entrance to the library goes directly through to the parking lot. [I asked which is the front, which the back, and the answered seemed to be "it depends."] Gardens are being installed, including a rain garden. The tan area at the bottom of the picture will one day be replaced with pavers purchased by donors as part of the fund-raising program.

I took this picture of the exterior because it's similar to the picture I included after my first visit. (Search for "454" to see that entry.) The windows farthest away form the window wall.

What a difference a year makes!