Tuesday, January 9, 2018

30a North Central Library, Ham Lake, Anoka County, Minnesota

I was at the dental school at the University earlier this week, and my student mentioned that she lived in Ham Lake. I asked if Ham Lake has a library, and after a bit of thought she said that it does. I last visited here on July 12, 2012, as part of my "all the MELSA libraries" challenge to myself. At that time I knew it by its proper name, "North Central," which I think is why "Ham Lake" didn't ring bells for me. In any case, I slightly remembered the exterior. The library is located next to Anoka County offices in a strip mall, and the plain exterior gives no hint of the space within.

The large, open space is nearly a square, and every corner is put to good use. The librarian greeted me when I entered, and the first thing she brought to my attention was the Winter Reads adult reading program. "Winter Reads" is quite broadly used in this area, but North Central has put a spin on it by wrapping books and labeling them with a genre; borrow a book, perhaps read something you never would have tried otherwise! [This is helped by the use of RFID tags...check out the book without unwrapping it!]


I pretty much missed the "Reference" sign on the wall when I took the picture below. Reference collections are shrinking these days, and the shelves below the sign now hold media. But the endcap and some of the adjacent shelves do have reference materials, including the first 2017 World Book Encyclopedia that I've seen. The librarian explained that a few of the largest libraries in Anoka County get the most up-to-date encyclopedia, in this case 2018. Recent editions move down the ranks, and at this point the 2015 edition is in the Junior non-fiction area as part of the circulating collection.

A row of study carrels is nearby.

Fiction, including adult graphic novels, is located on various shelves and spinners.

I saw a sign about some of the special items the Friends of the Library have provided, and I believe this set of puzzle/pattern blocks is one of them. Others were a plant and a play kitchen for the preschool area. This set of blocks was more appealing to me than coloring sheets would be, but I resisted!

Periodicals provide a focal point for this seating area.

Adult non-fiction is on stacks, with "E" and "J" on adjacent wall shelves. I like the fact that all non-fiction is together, and the E and J books are intershelved.

The whole library receives natural light from large windows (and good interior lighting), but this children's corner is especially bright. I don't recall seeing these green and white picture book bins anywhere else in my travels; they really add zing to the space, in my opinion.

There's the play kitchen provided by the Friends, along with a doll house and other toys for the youngest set. Baskets on the bottom shelf in the background hold more toys, and a bin on the windowsill is for toys that need to be washed. It's funny...one of the last libraries I visited, Osceola, WI, was the first place I saw a bin for toys to be washed; two libraries later, here's another. Have I just been missing them in the other 470+ libraries I've visited?

At Columbia Heights, young patrons were invited to write their wishes for the new year. Here, the request is for "What book lights up your winter?"

A copier/printer and a few office tools create a mini-business center. I believe there are four public Internet computers. One was being used by a patron who, at the librarian's request, helped me figure out a route home that would not involve retracing my steps. It worked just as you said it would, folks...thanks!