Thursday, November 20, 2014

40a. St. Paul Sunray Branch--revisit after remodeling

Another wonderful upgrade by St. Paul Public Libraries! The first three things that caught my eye were: 1) a large "Welcome to Your New Library" sign; 2) a drinking fountain that includes a "hydration station," providing an easy way to refill water bottles; and 3) pressure-sensitive squares in the floor that change color when you step on them. I have seen these only one other place, the Prairie West Branch in Sioux Falls, SD.

The south wall holds, in order from the entrance, the 3M Community Room (this branch is nearly across the street from 3M HQ), a computer lab, the teen area, and a quiet room. The community room holds a variety of tables, all with electrical access for laptops. (In fact, I think just about every piece of furniture here provides electrical access!) The computer lab is...just that. The teen area is marked by an S-curved counter with mod stools; in addition to an electrical outlet, each space along this counter has two USB ports. The Quiet Room has periodicals, a "living room" area for reading, and a couple of study tables. Both the teen and quiet rooms have full window walls.

I don't know why re-bound books appeal to me so much, but I was pleased to spot one in the Fiction section: Most of P.G. Wodehouse, published in 1960. I probably like rebound books because they are a form or recycling.

One area houses a goodly collection of travel books, and a globe, adjacent to a long shelf of language learning materials.

The children's area fills much of the north side of the library. It is set off, but not isolated, from the rest of the library by a highly textured, translucent glass panel. On the side of the panel facing into the kids area is a large (perhaps 3' x 8' ?) whiteboard panel, with colored markers. Beneath the panel are a series of cupboards with doors; these appear to be empty, so far.

An area that includes J series books could have been a darkish corner, but a very high ceiling in that area allows for clerestory windows collecting light from the south and reflecting it from the white north wall, making the area very light but without glare.

Seating is varied. My favorites are three large ... mmm ... cushions? that are shaped and colored like rocks. Very cool. And a couple of easy chairs upholstered in a fabric with a pattern of sheep! Hmm, the "rocks" seemed to be made of felt. Felt, wool, sheep...perhaps a theme? The program area is fairly small but totally charming. The north side has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on a reading garden. Well, I assume that's what it will be in warmer weather! The inside of the area is rounded and has a "tree" theme. Fortunately, I was able to take a picture, see below. The tree theme continues outside where a near twin of a feature at Highland Park library is located.

I did miss some of the interactive elements from the Children's Museum installation that were in the children's area the last time I visited. The building has been open less than two weeks; perhaps these elements will return?

For more about this library, go to http://www.sppl.org/about/locations/sun-ray .

11/20/2014, car

A look at the reading garden from the northeast corner.
The children's area is near the "trees and birdhouses."

A closer look at the "trees and birdhouses"

The new entrance

A peek into the program room, behind the curved wall