Thursday, November 30, 2017
472 Osceola Public Library, Osceola, Wisconsin
I was going over some maps and realized that I had somehow missed two libraries in Wisconsin; I'd apparently leapfrogged over them in my travels across the state. The beautiful weather and a bit of restlessness convinced me to fix this oversight.
I wish I had gone closer to the library before taking the picture below, so that you could read the sign. Why? Because this small town is in the process of raising matching funds for a new Discovery Center that will include a new library, senior center, community gathering area, business hub, and "Fab Lab" --a center for developing all sorts of high tech skills. So...if you are reading this before the end of 2017, just step over to www.millpondlf.org and make a donation that will be matched. OK?
The library's "back yard" includes benches, picnic tables, and a gazebo. A bit too chilly for hanging out here on the day that I visited, but think how pleasant this must be for at least half of a northern year!
The first thing I noticed as I entered was a heads-up sign, a "trigger warning" in modern parlance, about Mr. Licky. Who? Mr. Licky is a snake that is usually in a large tank but will sometimes come out to visit. If that's going to be a problem, speak to the librarian. It's a very nice, respectful sign.
When you enter from the lobby, the children's area is to the left. The central attraction, of course, is Mr. Licky himself; he was napping when I was there. Several signs provide information about Mr. Licky, who is a Ball Python, and about how to interact with him: wash your hands well before and after visiting with him; sit quietly and let an adult bring him to you; don't make loud noises; and stay away from his face, because he's shy. OK, sounds good. [By the way, I told the staff that I had one other library in the blog that has a snake. I was wrong; Exeter, NH, has a Russian Turtle that at times gets to roam around. But there are no other snakes that I know of.]
Turning our attention to everything else, we find shelves of books and media, plus various playthings for children of different ages. The library participates in the "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" program. There is a rack with a decent selection of periodicals for kids, and these look as if they are well-used.
The wooden train table is one of the most elaborate I've seen. It faces the story-reading corner, and I understand it has to be moved regularly to make room for program activities. I almost missed one more sign that I haven't seen before. It's in a small box and says, "If toys have been in your child's mouth, please put them in this box." Several blocks were there, waiting for a scrub.
"Food for Fines" programs are popular this time of year, combining fine forgiveness with food shelf collections. Here the food brought in was displayed along with a wide variety of cookbooks for the season.
The adult area has natural light, a chess game that looks as if it might be hand-carved, and a variety of seating possibilities for browsing and study. Four Internet computers are avaiable.
If you scroll back up to the picture of the library entrance, you'll see three small square windows up quite high on the left. These mark the teen area of the library, which is complete with books, assorted tables and chairs, a popcorn maker, and a huge collection of table games.
Those steps on the right go up to the teen area. Here at the bottom of the steps the wall has been transformed with chalkboard paint, and assorted chalk is available nearby.
Finally, how did I miss this on my way in? In the spirit of Little Free Libraries (Take a Book, Leave a Book), a rack in the lobby invites patrons to leave what they can share, and take what they need.
This library is already using great amounts of creativity and care to serve the community of Osceola. I'm looking forward to visiting when the new space is ready, to see how they continue to serve.