Saturday, March 31, 2018

153a Lake Elmo Public Library, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

I first visited the Lake Elmo library in April of 2013. Those who have been following this blog from the beginning might find this a bit odd; Lake Elmo is in Washington County and I visited all the Washington County libraries in the summer of 2012...didn't I?

Yes, I did. But at that time, Lake Elmo was an independent library, not part of the seven-county metropolitan area. Recently, it joined the Washington County system. Time for a new visit!

The library looks essentially the same five years later.

One difference is in the children's area, which has been greatly enhanced. Back in 2013 I rarely took interior pictures, so it's impossible to compare, but staff assured me that much has been done. Here's a peek at the results.

The "leaves" on that "tree" in the corner represent kids who are participating in the "1000 Books before Kindergarten" program. I'm glad to see this program catching on in Minnesota. There are also posters about keys to literacy: Reading, Talking, Singing, Dancing, Playing...

The children's area is one large space. But the distinguishing feature of this library was, and still is, the labyrinth of small rooms with varied purposes. [The only library I recall like this was, and still is, Lexington, Michigan, though Blue Hill, Maine, comes close.]

The room here holds DVDs and CDs as well as the fourth public computer.

Here's the home of the mystery books; science fiction and
fantasy have their own space adjacent to the librarian's office...
...and here are three public computers
in their own small glass-walled space.

If you want to curl up with a book, try this room, which isn't much bigger than the chair! You can't really tell from the pictures, but most of the many rooms here have at least one glass wall or large window, making the spaces seem lighter and larger than they might otherwise.

Toward the back of the building (or the front, if you enter from the parking lot) the Friends of the Library book sale shares a space with a kitchenette and a collection of table games.

I missed pictures of the Teen Room and the small non-fiction stacks. "Small" does not mean "limited," of course. Once advantage of being part of the Washington County Library System is the access to the whole system catalog, with requested books delivered here. Also, beyond the "book sale" room are rest rooms and a good-sized meeting room that can be divided into two moderate spaces. There's a lot of flexibility here!

At the front, if you enter from the street, self-service coffee is available, along with bright natural light.

An "inner room" holds periodicals, newspapers, a meeting table and another soft chair.

Every wall of the library displays art. I think it's local and at least some is for sale. My eye was caught especially by these constructions.