Monday, August 3, 2015

25a. Columbia Heights, MN, City Library

I visited Columbia Heights City Library in the summer of 2012, when I started this project. I was driving then, as I was on my way to visit Anoka County libraries. Columbia Heights is a City Library, but it has a close enough relationship with Anoka County that I was able to request a book from Anoka and pick it up at Columbia Heights. That's service!

On that first visit, I only looked at the children's space on the lower level, so this time I started with adults on the main floor. The space is larger than it seems from the outside. Turning to the right, I found a large area that is very well used but still has a feeling of openness. Non-fiction books through the 600s and fiction, including genre collections, are in this room, with paperback fiction on spinners--lots of spinners.

There are at least five computers in this room, plus one or two for the library catalog.  The reference area has four carrels for laptop use...or, gasp, I suppose you could use them to read books! There is a fairly large collection of Chilton auto-repair manuals. A seating area by a large window is convenient for browsing newspapers (on sticks...someone should figure out a State Fair tie-in) and periodicals. Mini-blinds keep the glare off the computer screens.

To the left of the entrance is the service desk (no self-checkout here) and a model of the neighborhood, including... wait, I'll save that for the end.

Beyond the service desk is the East Room. Here I found the media collection and tables set up with Scrabble, chess, and a jigsaw puzzle. None of these were in use, but they looked welcoming. This room also houses non-fiction from the 700s through the 900s.

Next I headed downstairs to the Lucille Hawkins Children's Room, with a photo of Ms. Hawkins herself at the entrance. This space was as bright as I remembered it. Although it is windowless, it is very well-lit and definitely does not feel subterranean. The space abounds with signs of all sorts, including nursery rhymes and a bunch of riddles about cows, like "Why did the farmer give his cows pogo sticks?" (Answer is at the end of this post.) A paper "tree" on the wall at the end of the room is labeled "Poet Tree," and each of the green leaves sports a short poem. A set of large crayon cut-outs serve as the background for a series of "Itty Bitty Bookmarks" with lists of books about baseball, monsters, dinosaurs, jokes, flowers, fathers, and mothers. You can see both of these features in the second and third pictures below.

A sign I especially like tells the young patrons that "When you enter this library you are: Readers; Explorers; Important; Valued; Respected; A friend; The reason we are here." I haven't seen this wonderful affirmation at any other library, but it would be a great addition to any library, and not just in the children's area. From the far end of the room I could hear staff talking with children and parents, and I had the impression that they live the ideas behind this sign.

Back upstairs, I picked up my requested book and went to the desk to check out. I learned from the woman at the desk that in about a year there will be a brand-new Columbia Heights City Library a few blocks away, thus explaining the model and some architectural drawings I noticed on the wall. It is wonderful to see communities coming together not just to support an existing library, but to look ahead. I'll be back next year!

For more about this library, see their web page at
http://www.ci.columbia-heights.mn.us/index.aspx?nid=127 or visit on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaHeightsPublicLibrary?fref=ts

8/3/2015, bus and walking

The front entrance

The Poet Tree is on the far wall.
Painting some of the shelves bright yellow helps make this space cheerful.

The white papers hanging on the "crayons" are Itty Bitty Booklists on various topics.
 
 
Answer to riddle: So they would make milkshakes (of course)