Tuesday, September 25, 2018

496 Slayton Minnesota Public Library

Second stop on my September road trip, Slayton Public Library. Before I even went inside, I noticed something that struck me as unusual: Main Street parking. The street is very wide, with diagonal parking at both curbs and down the center. I've seen center parking before, but here you can pull into a diagonal space from either direction. This led me to wonder, do people ever absent-mindedly pull forward instead of backing out, thus putting themselves in a potential wrong-way situation? I hope not!

But never mind parking, I'm here to see a charming small-town library.

The first thing I saw in the lobby was a sign about a "Sock Animal Workshop" on September 26: Register Now! There is no end to the creative workshops offered by every library I visit.

In many ways the Slayton library feels like a home. Look at all the extra decorative touches here, including the magazine rack beside the wing chair and the fall-themed items on and around the fireplace.

Homey fall-themed touches surround the catalog computers, too.

The library is laid out in two long parallel spaces. Here, I'm in the children's area, looking out, to show you one of the many murals. The entrance to the children's area is just below the picture of the two girls. The curved top of the doorway and the painted stars give a feeling that you are entering (or leaving) a magical area.

The opposite wall has another mural, this one reflecting the agricultural character of the Slayton area.

The books in the bins are arranged topically, with signs identifying each group: Early Settlers, Fantasy, etc. A sticker on each book aids in keeping the bins organized.

This play table is ready for its next builders. The bin on the left holds Lincoln Logs, and one on the other end holds Tinker Toys! I was told that there are many bins of construction toys, including Lego, Duplo, trains, and others, and they are swapped in and out monthly, so kids coming to the library will find different building opportunities and challenges. What a great idea! I wa especially pleased to see the "retro" toys.

"Funds for the coffee cart (pretty fancy cart!) are provided by the Friends of the Slayton Public Library. You can help by becoming a member." I met one of the members, and if she is representative of the group, they must be a lively bunch, indeed.

There is a reading corner that I think is just to the left of the stacks shown here. I meant to get a picture; it includes shelves of classic books on the wall, and the start of the non-fiction stacks to the right. There is one more reading corner with periodicals and newspapers. I also spotted a shelf of Minnesota books, with some special categories, like Christmas, Native Americans, and high school yearbooks nearby.

A separate room serves as a computer lab; I think there are eight computers. And my notes are lacking some details, but I think that the fiction area is through that door at the back.

This easy chair is in the teen area, which I would never have found on my own. Why not? Well, there is a hint in the top left corner of this picture. [And that pillow would have been SO appropriate for me, as a teen and pre-teen.]

You have to pass through the computer lab and then through the beaded curtain. This picture is from the inside looking out.

This mural, quite unlike the ones in the children's area, was painted by a visiting artist from Scotland, I believe.

To wrap things up, a bulletin board covered with newspaper clippings poses the wonderful challenge, "In a World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind."


Sunday, September 23, 2018

495 Fulda Memorial Library, Fulda, Minnesota

So, what took me to the southwest corner of Minnesota? A beautiful day for driving, for one thing. And a comment on the blog that mentioned Fulda. A comment that seems to have evaporated, or gone into hiding. No matter; it gave the librarian on duty a mystery to try and solve: Who wrote the comment that brought me here? Whoever it was, I'm sorry that I didn't get to meet him or her.

After I introduced myself to the librarian, the first thing I noticed was a set of shelves with dozens of board games, all labeled and ready to circulate. Many libraries have collections of games, but usually they seem to be meant for in-library use.

One end of this long, narrow space is the children's area, which includes this attractive, comfortable corner.

I like the clear expectations for the "Monday Meet-Up," an after-school program. From a reminder to park your bike correctly, to the clean up activity that is built right into the program, I think this is really great.

Those spheres are 3-D mazes. I gave one of them a try and quickly decided that kids are surely much better at these than I am! Providing manipulatives like these is probably helpful for siphoning off some extra after-school energy.

The shelves in the foreground hold junior fiction, while the taller ones in the background hold non-fiction. More fiction is on the spinner.

A longer view of the children's area gives a look at the various spaces and their contents. Natural light from windows is always a plus.

There are two computers for kids. This one is near the entrance to the children's area...and also near the librarian's desk. The second one is next to the three adult computers, allowing a parent to do his or her work on a computer while a child is similarly occupied nearby.

The library is full of murals which appear to reflect the town and surrounding community.

I think this is my favorite mural. It's so neat, the way it blends indoors and out. That's the entrance to the library on the right.

This area holds periodicals and large print books. The periodicals are on wall shelves just to the left of the picture. More large print books are on stacks behind me.

Here are the rest of the large print books, along with an array of newspapers on the table. Beyond these books you'll find one stack of Christian fiction, one of other fiction, and three of non-fiction.

Somebody had fun painting the ceiling tiles in the teen area. Perhaps the teens themselves?

The end of most stacks have a narrow, free-standing bookshelf used for displays. The sign on the bottom shelf here says "We love it when you check out the displays." I recall from experience that people often are hesitant to take a displayed book, not realizing that the librarians have displayed them for just that purpose: to catch your eye and interest.

Another fun sign points out to adults that it's just fine to read YA books, even if you are no longer young. As encouragement, the librarians indicate that they sometimes read these books. And if you need to plug in a laptop or whatever, just follow the green arrow.

Very artistic decorative touches are found everywhere in this library...even in the rest room! I think this is the first library where I've felt compelled to take a restroom picture, but it really deserves to be called out, in my opinion.


Friday, September 7, 2018

367a New Glarus Public Library, New Glarus, WIsconsin

If you are new to the blog, let me point out that I number the libraries I visit, and when I make return visits and write a new post, I keep the same number but add a letter. Thus "367a" tells you that this was my first re-visit to New Glarus.

If the picture of the building that houses the village hall and the library makes you think, "There seems to be a Swiss influence here," you would be absolutely right. New Glarus was established as a Swiss Colony in 1845 and incorporated as a Village in 1901.

It's been just about three years since my last visit. At that time I wrote "On May 5, 2015 the New Glarus Village Board unanimously passed a Resolution that reflects the results of the 2014 referendum on the library-building project.  Specifically, the New Glarus Village Board has endorsed Glarner Park as the new downtown home of the library, and has agreed to reserve $1,000,000 in borrowing capacity for the library project." New Glarus was on my way home from the big road trip this year, and also I wanted to follow up on progress on this library project.

What I discovered was in a way the opposite of the situation in Royalton, Vermont. In both cases we have towns that need to enlarge and/or modernize their libraries. In Royalton, the money has been raised to renovate a historic building--and now there are those who would like to use it for a brand-new library instead. In New Glarus, money has been raised for a new library--and there are those who would like to stay in the present buiding.

So...both of these libraries will stay on my "watch" list, and in a year or two I'll be checking back to see what has happened.

In the meantime, here's a picture of the newest addition to the New Glarus children's area, a We Play Smart computer. Staff had to show me how it works, since I had no idea. If I recall correctly, a child touches one of those airplanes and "becomes" that figure in various games. At least some of the games require cooperation, an idea that I like. I'm sorry I didn't get to see kids playing with this, but on the other hand, kids playing with it would mean no picture.

Every inch of space is well-used in this small library. There is "a place for everything, and everything in its place"-- at least that's how it seemed to me. The children's collection is on the right when you enter, with picture books on shelves and board books on a rolling cart.

Book and CD sets hang on a spinner...

...children's fiction and non-fiction fill several stacks...

...while kids' graphic novels and series books are on wire shelves. 

These wire shelves, and shelves for adult and kids' DVDs, are lined with plexiglass. This maintains a light environment and keeps things from falling through, of course.

A large table and some easy chairs provide a place to look at peridicals and papers. I didn't take a picture of the adult fiction and non-fiction materials, but they are there, certainly. There is also a Teens area.

There are two Internet computers.  A sign says that if you print from the computers, the first five black and white copies are free; after that, it's 20 cents a page. Color prints are fifty cents each (no freebies).

Old card catalog drawers seem to have been made for Keurig coffee services. $1.00 a cup, please.

Like every library I've visited in Wisconsin (I think), New Glarus runs a "Thousand Books Before Kindergarten" program. These stars represent youngsters on their way to lifetime literacy, I hope.

I took this picture from the hall that links the library and other civic departments. The easel at the left shows the concept drawings for the new library. If I go back in two years, will I find that new library? Or will I find a remodeled library in this building? I promise to go and see.