Friday, October 26, 2018

472a Osceola Public Library, Osceola, Wisconsin

I really do know better than to visit a library just a couple of weeks after it has moved to a new building. I've seen this with two libraries right here in Ramsey County, Minnesota: it takes time to "grow into" a new space. But...I was really eager to see how Osceola was doing, and it was a beautiful day for a drive, bracketed by many not-beautiful driving days, so off to Wisconsin I went. And I promise that I will visit again next spring.

To see "before" pictures, you can put "472" in the search field. The changes are huge. First, there is the building, which will house a Discovery Center and the town offices in addition to the library. From where I parked on the street, stairs lead up to the entrance. Past these stairs and around the corner is a ramp from the parking lot.

I entered through the door shown to the right. The library is immediately visible through a glass wall; there is no guessing "where do I go." Looking into the library from the lobby, the adult non-fiction collection is visible to the right.

Near the non-fiction is a space that will have comfortable chairs for reading, with an interesting textured blue wall that will soon hold a fireplace.

If I recall correctly (my notes are a litle fuzzy here), this room will house the history, genealogy, and Wisconsin collections. Special note: Gustav Stickley, the designer of mission-style furniture, was born in Osceola, and the new furniture will be in his style. That will definitely make a return trip worthwhile.

Outside the history room, which is visible through the windows, there are six computers and a "Pharo Station," which patrons will use to sign up for computer time.

Nearby are the stacks for Westerns, Mysteries, and other Adult Fiction. I didn't get a picture, but a current fundraiser involves raffling a sharp-looking kayak, $10.00 for one ticket, $25.00 for three. The container with the tickets suggests that there is a lot of interest in the boat.

Near here is a large blue wall with the wavy texture, like the wall where the fireplace will be located. It spans the space that will hold study tables and such. I like the color a lot; my eyes tell me that it would take me a while to get used to the texture.

One end of the spacious teen area has a carpeted floor and a variety of seating options and games.

The other end of the teen space has a tiled floor, ready for messy projects, and three computers.

Running the full length of the teen area, books are temptingly displayed. The collection is varied and inclusive.

Now we arrive at the children's area, which fills the end of the library space. The long counter, sink, and cabinets are conveniently located between the teen and kid areas.

The table, chairs, and hefty wooden chess set is tucked in a corner in the kids area. Missing from  area: Mr. Licky, the ball python. Fear not, he's just in temporary quarters until his new habitat is ready. He'll be back.

The sensory table is filled with dried lentils, artificial leaves...and cinnamon sticks! Lots of senses come into play here. I like the fact that a lid can be folded up to cover the table. By the way, those "dots" on the tile floor are...lentils, of course. Task for the end of each day, sweep up the lentils!

In the background of this picture you can see that picture books are in the heavy plastic bins that libraries use for, among other things, shipping books from branch to branch. These are temporary until the flip bins arrive, but I heard that little kids really like having their books at floor level. [Adults who have to find specific books are eager to have the regular bins.]

You can't really tell from the picture, but the armchair is adult-sized and the adirondack chairs are kid-sized. Windows, windows, windows, and outside these windows there is...

...a broad deck, ready to be an outdoor reading space next Spring when the weather warms up again.

No picture, but walking back into the adult space I passed a long counter with outlets, clearly a place to use your laptop. And although the library has been in this space for just a few weeks, the Friends already have a couple of shelves of books for sale. I found some good ones for Halloween. [Grinch that I am, I give books instead of candy, so I'm always on the lookout for bargains.]

Before I left I asked about what the Discovery Center, which shares the building, will include. That led me to google "Fab Lab," with these exciting results:

"Fab Lab" is an abbreviation for Fabrication Laboratory, a group of off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, wrapped in open-source software and programs. Fab Labs give users around the world the ability to locally conceptualize, design, develop, fabricate, and test almost anything. The engineering capability for design and fabrication at micron length and microsecond time-scales opens up numerous possibilities for innovative solutions to common problems. Since local communities foster this innovation, it can lead to sustainable solutions. As yet, high-end technological solutions have not been addressing problems faced on the local level; therefore, we believe Fab Labs will provide a thriving incubator for local micro-businesses


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for visiting four of the beautiful libraries in the IFLS Library System! You really communicated what is unique about each one. Hooray for libraries!


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