Wednesday, November 28, 2018

59c Dakota County Library System, Galaxie Library, Apple Valley, MN

This was my fourth visit to the Galaxie library, which may be a record. The first visit was in the summer of 2012 when my goal was to visit every library in the MELSA library system. (And I did, 106 of them!) The second visit was simply because I was in the neighborhood, trying out the Red Line bus route. The third...just because! This time I had a real purpose, however: the library has recently reopened after extensive renovations, and I wanted to see what had been done.

The exterior was as I remembered it. It is part of a group of municipal buildings in this large suburb of Minneapolis.

Through the lobby and along the left wall I spotted the print and copy center. I really like the dark blue walls.

AMH, or Automated Materials Handling, is often a back room, behind-the-scenes operation, which is too bad because it can be neat to watch. Geeky, perhaps, but still neat. This round window gives a great view of Galaxie's AMH, with the book drop in the wall to the right. The room was busy, so I had to take the picture at an angle to avoid people. If you get to this library, take a look at the process by which books automatically are sorted into bins; it really is fun to watch.

After the non-fiction stacks there is a wall of law books adjacent to the relocated Dakota County Law Library. The Law Librarian was out to lunch (a sign said so), but several patrons were at work in this area.

I think there are at least five of these glass-walled study rooms for one person or a small group. There might be more. The glass walls are great for sound abatement and supervision.

Yes, this is the teen seating area--how did you guess? Nearby there is a free "charging station" for all the ubiquitous electronics, and a group of about 10 computers.

I think Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was the first place I saw computer displays like this on the ends of some shelves in the stacks. Using a touch screen you can navigate the library and access the catalog. These computers are well-positioned at the point of need.

Modern libraries are unlikely to "Shush" patrons, but it is still important to provide quiet spaces for those who want and need them. Periodicals in Plexiglass organizers are nearby.


As I mentioned after an earlier visit, there is a World Languages area with books in Spanish, Russian. and Vietnamese, for children and adults. There is also a fairly large collection of materials for adults who are learning English.

Media is nearby, readily available but not given pride of place. Of course, that could just be the impression I got based on the direction from which approached these shelves. Perhaps I need to make a fifth visit?

There is no mistaking the fact that we have arrived at the children's area of the library. I believe that I mentioned a galaxy quilt after one of my earlier visits. Now the galaxy is represented by a large bright mural.

One wall is dedicated to this lighted peg board. The pegs are clear plastic, almost an inch in diameter, and fit readily into the back-lighted pegboard.

This picture shows just two of the interactive panels installed at a height for the youngest patrons. A family restroom is nearby. And around a corner is an enormous metallic wall. No picture, because a handful of kids were playing with a collection of magnetic gears, pictures, letters, and numbers.

I see signs like this at perhaps a third of the libraries I visit. In the past, but not on this trip, I've asked how effective the signs are. The response is generally "not very." Based on my experience, I think that some parents will always encourage their kids to tidy up, and even pitch in to help. The rest will just walk away. That's what library staff and volunteers are for, right? Of course, it just occurred to me that in the adult areas there are signs specifically asking that patrons leave books for the staff to re-shelve. Yes, there are good reasons for this, but maybe a double standard?

I like this face-front shelving that is used for picture books and easy readers. It seems to make the books appear especially appealing and accessible.

Back near the entrance and the service desk there is a large computer lab set up for training sessions. I believe I spotted two 3-D printers in the far corner.

I took this picture of a self-checkout machine just because it's different from others I've seen, and I think it looks neat.

This is something I've rarely seen but think is an excellent idea: A seating area in the lobby, outside the security gates. The restrooms are around the corner in the back. If one member of a group is still in the library, or using the restroom, or if it is necessary to wait for a ride, folks can sit in comfort.

Congratulations on a fine remodel, Galaxie!