Tuesday, January 9, 2018

25b Columbia Heights Public Library

As you can tell from the "b" following the number in the title of this post, I've visited Columbia Heights before. My first visit was 7/7/2012, the summer when I decided to visit all the MELSA libraries. I went back on 8/3/2015 and took a more thorough look. That's when I learned that a brand-new building was on the drawing board, and from the bus I saw a sign indicating the location.

Then time went by, and yesterday, 1/8/2018, I decided I had some catching up to do. This is the view of the new building from the parking lot. Library offices and service areas are on the right. The lobby entrance is straight ahead, and a community meeting room is to the left.

I walked around to the front of the building and on my way spotted this sign describing a new (to me) way to handle water run-off from the roof. It's pretty neat. I also noticed that several parts of the parking lot had a permeable surface.

The new building stretches along Central Avenue. I couldn't get a good picture of the sign (without playing in the traffic), but you can see where it is.

A roomy lobby opens to a large community room on the right. Restrooms and a "hydration station"-type drinking fountain are located here. This area can be used while the library itself is closed, which provides great flexibility.

I don't think I've seen a more enthusiastic "Thank You" donor wall! The vertical boards in the picture above have words I was unable to read. My guess is that they say "thank you" in languages of the community. Leave me a comment...am I right, or do I need to make a correction?

The library proper stretches nearly the length of a city block, with large west-facing windows. Not pictured are the 16 or so computers for public use, a browsing area with new books, and assorted seating and tables.

At the end of the stacks there is a modern two-sided fireplace, with casual seating on each side.

This is the teen area, showing the computer stations and the lively cityscape outside. Yes, I know there is a way to rotate the picture, but I don't remember it right now. In the interest of getting the post posted, I ask you to tip your head to the right or your screen to the left. I'll come back and fix this later.

To the right of the teen area there are shelves of Junior fiction

This desk in the children's area holds materials for a new New Year activity. Not "resolutions" that will never be kept,  but "wishes" for the coming year. These are written on paper stars and posted as you see on the right. Neat idea!

This "golden cave" was a surprise when I got to the corner of the children's area! A set of hooks nearby hold superhero capes of various sorts. A "height chart" lets kids compare their height to that of various superheroes (Robin is the shortest), and a scavenger hunt sheet encourages kids to locate the logos of six heroes, then bring the sheet to the librarian and get a sticker.

Baskets like this make a convenient way to display small chapter books, like Junie B. Jones. [I took this picture mainly to show the aide who is running a St. Paul school library and who was looking for ideas.]  And the array of nine convex mirrors made me really wish some kids were present so I could see their reactions.

This final corner of the kids area has a family restroom and a great display of information about literacy and community services. I like the bin for materials to be reshelved, too.

As I headed back to the entrance, I passed on my left a series of glass-walled meeting rooms. The first has a sink and space for displays by the window. On this day, there were some very creative LEGO creations on display. Then there were several small study rooms, one that holds printer, copier, and community notices, and a larger room, big enough for a dozen or more meeting attendees. (I counted them!) Finally, a glass case invites patrons (and others) to share a collection. Today's collections was snow- and winter-themed.

Columbia Heights waited a long, long time for this building. It certainly seems to have been worth the wait!


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