Monday, August 20, 2018

494 Logansport Cass County Public Library, Logansport, Indiana

This turned out to be the penultimate visit on my trip, since I decided to remove a couple of others from the itinerary. I tend to bite off more than I can chew when planning a major trip. So here we are at the entrance to the library in Logansport, Indiana.

To the left as I entered I found this calm, somewhat formal sitting room, with natural light, a fireplace, and a pair of oil paintings.

Initially I thought there was just this one "diner booth," but I later realized there are three, located in separate spots. There are also two mid-sized meeting rooms that look as if maybe they can be combined into one larger room, and a small study room.

It seems that in addition to diner seating, the teen area has study tables and some casual seating. YA books are on low bookshelves and along the wall.

One of the first things I noticed when I reached the children's non-fiction was a cluster of books on mythology, several of them rebound. From the wear on the books it appears that they are popular, although two of them date back to 1960 and 1907! Why not? Myths don't change! Graphic novels, I noticed, are shelved with fiction, without anything to indicate that they are graphic. Perhaps this shows that graphics are going mainstream? Or perhaps it's simply that there are not yet enough graphic fiction titles here to justify their own shelf.

Some manipulatives on the table mark this space for the preschool set. And notice the round windows, similar to what I saw in Ashtabula and Geneva, Ohio.

Children also have four computers, plus a train set for the little ones. The shelves here hold picture books and children's media.

Here's a better view of the children's computers. A sign nearby asks that if more than one copy is needed of something being printed, the user should print one from the computer, then make additional copies on the copier.

The children's librarian has an "office" in a corner of the children's area, with the "stuffies" safely stowed on shelves. [I picked up the term "stuffies" from Canadian libraries. I like it.]

Board books are nearby in bins and tubs.

There are ten computers on the first floor, arranged with five on each side of a curved wall. I wish I could show was very nicely done. But no picture was possible because so many computers were in use.

This graceful staircase leads up to a mezzanine level with the adult collection and 18 more computers.

It's nice to have places to sit with natural light and a view to the outdoors.

I found this vertigenous staircase tucked away. No thanks, I'll stick to the curving staircase or the elevator!

Books, books, books. The wooden ends on the stacks give a nice finished look.

The original Carnegie library, built in 1904, burned in the early 1940s but reopened about a year and a half later. Renovations and additions continued in the early 1970s and 80s.

I just had to include the flowers. Planters like these are everywhere in downtown and even out into the residential areas, on the sidewalks and hanging from lamp posts. They really tie the town together...and someone must be putting a lot of work into maintaining them.

And while this picture was obviously not taken at the library, after driving though a lot of rain, I just couldn't resist. Go ahead, see what shapes you can find in the clouds!


493 Weston Public Library, Weston, Ohio

With my map spread out (yes, a paper map of the eastern United States is the first step in my route planning) I looked for a town with a library in just the right place. Weston caught my eye, probably because that was my father's name. It turned out to be a fine choice.

I had sought and received permission to take pictures and had just begun my stroll around the library when the librarian offered to show me the "history room." Many libraries have historical displays; some share space with history societies and museums. Here in Weston, an amazing array of historical materials are in a good-sized storeroom. The first thing, you can't miss it, is this handsome desk with the glass-fronted shelves. What's on those shelves is even better. On display are the library tools used at this library in a by-gone day: a rack of date stamps, an adding machine, devices for putting Dewey numbers on book spines, and more. Some of these remind me of tools I used when I started working as a library page at age 15, a  long time ago!

Once the people of a town know that the library has historic artifacts, interesting material keeps showing up. Among the treasures are high school yearbooks going back many years. My notes are little sketchy here; I was sure I'd remember what was on the shelves, but I was mostly wrong. I do remember a ten-pin bowling ball, however!

Many of the libraries I visited on this trip were housed in former residences, with lots of separate rooms, plenty of nooks and crannies. Weston's library is a tidy rectangle, with shelves and tables in neat arrays.

This is just part of the mural in the children's area. There are other familiar book characters to the right and left. Picture books in general have no indicator on the spine, though some say "Easy." All are shelved together. A section of chapter books is labeled "J Paperbacks." One surprise on the J shelves was a bunch of small-format comics, like "Garfield" and "Family Circus," that have been professionally bound into hardback books. Good idea! I know from experience that these books are very popular and prone to wearing out.

Here is the technological heart of the library. The blue "box" to the right is a three-D printer. The computer in the foreground is a "Sprout" station; among other things, it can be used to design objects that are then sent to the printer. The librarian explained that they try to keep up with the technology available at the local public schools.

Several carrells hold computers for patrons to use.

A room at the back appears to be a meeting room, and also a staff break room. I spotted some cookies in the background...there must be a meeting coming up.

Beyond the children's area are large print, paperbacks, and non-fiction in stacks, with fiction along the walls. All of the paperbacks are shelved together.

This open area with light-weight furniture can be used for many purposes. My favorite that I heard about required setting up the available "banquet tables" in this space, for an excellent reason. The school district received a grant to serve lunch to local kids during the summer. This in itself is not unusual; many, perhaps most, libraries are participating in programs like this. But in Weston, they are serving hot lunches, prepared and delivered by the schools. These are available for anyone up to age 18, no questions asked. How many hot lunches? Typically 80 to 120, between here and a smaller branch library, in a town of about 1600 population. Imagine setting up for lunch service for that many kids each day, then cleaning up and putting the tables away. What a wonderful collaboration between the schools and the library. Kudos to the Weston Public Library for taking this on.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

492 Cuyahoga County Public Library, Berea Branch, Berea, Ohio

Well, I didn't do a very good job of getting the Library sign, did I? The sun was very bright and I was having trouble seeing through the viewfinder. Or maybe I just messed up.

Berea is the home of my undergraduate education, at Baldwin-Wallace College. They call themselves "University" now, for some reason, but that's not the school I went to.

I'm not sure I even knew there was a public library in Berea when I was in is sort of tucked away from the campus. And of course, as a student I had plenty of reading to do without seeking out more!.

Finding the library was a bit of a trick, mostly because I had parked near the edge of the campus and so I approached from an unhelpful direction. But find it I did, and I only had to ask for directions once.

A sign at the door said that RTA passes and farecards are sold here, a fine convenience and something I haven't seen anywhere else. Of course, many of the libraries I've visited are in communities too small to have much, or any, public transit.

Just inside the door was another first, a tool donation station for Habitat for Humanity.

The service desk, not pictured, is the first place you come to when entering. Nearby are racks of new books.

There are three glass-walled study rooms along the left side. Study tables are nearby, with one reserved for Passport Use Only, with applications and informational material. Another "first. A glass-walled room at the end of the building is designated as a quiet study area. Elsewhere in the library there are 16 computers for use by patrons, and an array of study tables.

It seems as if more than usual of the libraries visited on this trip have aquaria. Like this one, they always seem to be very well maintained.

Adult fiction is in stacks and wall shelves along the right wall. Genre labels include Urban Graphic, Inspirational, Westerns, Mystery, and Romance with two sub-groups, Harlequin Series and Love Inspired Series.

One section of the wall shelves presented me with a puzzle. A sign announced "The Great American Read, 100 books, one winner. OK, I get that. And there were multiple copies of books on these shelves. But none of the books were on the "100 books" list. I should have asked about that. Perhaps someone will leave a comment and clear up the mystery.

And now we come to the children's area. I noticed a very detailed "Rules of Conduct" sign next to a "Rub-a-Dub" bin for toys that need to be cleaned. The blue structure shown below has three two-sided panels, allow for explorations by a lot of kids at the same time. Bins of picture books define the play space for little kids.

First Readers are close by, followed by J fiction and non-fiction.

There are racks of CDs, multiple bookpacks, and sets of Playaway audio and book sets in large containers. There are at least 12 periodical titles for kids, presented in the neat plexiglass boxes that are becoming more and more common. Three Internet computers are available for kids, and research can also be done in the 2018 World Book encyclopoedia (Reference) or the 2017 edition (circulating),

Finally, this cityscape bench in the lobby caught my eye as I left.

 I wonder if today's college...oops, sorry, university students find their way to this library, or if they limit themselves to Ritter Library on campus.


491 Geneva Public Library, Geneva, Ohio

Driving 20 miles took me from Ashtabula to Geneva, Ohio, and I later learned that they are in the same county library district. Once inside, it was clear that the two libraries are siblings, or at least cousins.

I took two pictures of the sign in order to show two programs. Both are interesting and a bit unusual, especially the Family Talent Nights.


The broad blue expanse of doors and windows makes a strong statement at the entrance.

Inside and to the left is a room with vending machines, a snack bar, and an on-going book sale. This is the only place I've seen the sign "No Book Scanners Permitted." I don't think librarians (usually) sit around thinking up signs for no reason, so I assume there has been a problem in the past.

The long central "hall" is distinctive for its clerestory windows and a repeat of the blue used on the doors. The design gives a classic look to the library, without being at all stuffy..

The teen area is designed more for study than for games. At least that's what I thought before I spotted a glassed-walled game room similar to the one in Ashtabula. One difference: In Ashtabula, two boys were seated and intent on their game, while in Geneva the room held two teen girls who were standing and doing some sort of active game. [Not a scientific study; too few samples and no control.]


Fiction is in stacks to the left as you walk through the library. The collection starts with YA near the teen area; genres following are Inspirational, General, Romance, Historical, Science Fiction, Fantasies, Westerns, and Graphic Novels. At the end you arrive at Large Print books and a seating area with a fireplace and the periodical collection.

At the very end there is an area, sort of an alcove, with a stained glass window and a shelf of old classic books, including a set of McGuffey's Readers. More similar books are on a facing shelf.

Just about anything can represent history...including the First Traftic Light in Geneva.

This picture was taken through the glass wall to the right, into the Mary Louise Legeza room for history and genealogy. A similar room on the left appeared to be a multipurpose space. It was being used for tutoring when I was there, I think.

Non-fiction and biographies are on the side of the library opposite the fiction books. There are study tables here, eight public computers, and a second fireplace area where the newest books and media are displayed.

An over-all view...I finally figured out how to fix the pictures that my computer chose to rotate! This picture was taken for me from a point of view I chose not to access. Read on.

It's time to head to the children's area, which is to the right of the entrance. I'd been tipped off during my Ashtabula visit: "Wait until you see the treehouse!" Well, lots of libraries include trees, real and not-so-real, especially in children's areas. But nothing prepared me for what I found here.

For a sense of the scale, consider that a librarian entered that doorway and went up the spiral staircase inside, where she used my camera to capture the overall view shown above. Can you imagine the fun kids must have here? I'm sorry I didn't get to see kids in action...but on the other hand, with kids playing I wouldn't have been able to get the pictures.

Here's another view of the entrance to the tree house, and a manipulative board attached to the wall outside. Notice the mural that puts the tree in context.

That mural wraps around two walls of the children's area. It's magical!

Curved seating surrounds the tree, providing a place for parents to sit and watch the action.

There's more to the children's area than a treehouse, of course. Here's a view of the J collection, with tables and chairs watched over by the large round window.

These smaller windows provide a view into--or out of-- the nearby workroom and office space. There are at least four computers here for kids to use.

Geneva is also the home of a bookmobile, which I did not see because it was out being mobile.