Visiting Apollo High School

The excitement in visiting this school started immediately, as I stopped at the space capsule outside to admire it. Yes: a real NASA training capsule, just like the astronauts rode to the moon! I knew this was going to be an exciting trip, and the library did not let me down. Media Specialist Susan Hoffman was there to show me around and to answer all my questions about her very nice library.


Everything is better with fish!

This fish tank is the first thing you see as you walk into the big, open library area. It gives visitors a good welcome and establishes the library as a place where possibly unexpected great things will appear – always a good idea for libraries!

Spoooky holidays on the calendar!

This calendar was so fun! As we were near Halloween, it was great to see all the appropriately spooky holidays mentioned here. I love to celebrate holidays, and at CMLE Headquarters we are enthusiastic decorators. (You need to stop in and visit us!) I had no idea that Haunted Refrigerator Night was a thing – but it is! I was simultaneously terrified, and seized with the urge to clean out my leftovers. There was no time for that, as there were so many other things to see in the library.

We will always have paper books!

Libraries, as we all know, do so much more than hand out paper books to deserving readers as we did back in the olden days of library work.  Now we have all kinds of tools to reach out to our patrons, to connect with their information needs, and to provide some fun. This display of New Books meets a few different goals in a library setting. Of course, new books are always fun, and any bibliophile will happily browse here (I did!).  But this shelf is special, because those multiple copies of books you see are books from the book club run in this library! (Susan will be contributing a Guest Blog on her book club; and the information should be good for everyone considering starting a group).

Looking at it all

You can get an idea of the huge size of the library space here (As is always important in a library and in a school, I am struggling here not to get any student patrons in the pictures; so angles can be a little odd. It is a truly outstanding “problem” that the library was filled with students!).  I love this sign with all the values being embraced in the library here in one place.  Students see this as they enter the large space, and it seems like it would give a good perspective on being part of the community of learners here. Diversity issues can be tough to work with each day; and it is good to see them being publicly embraced.

As you look toward the right in this picture, you can not quite see the two completely filled computer stations. Each has 32 terminals. There is also access to the iPad cart filled with tablets, laptops to lend out, and other technology tools available for students to use in their learning endeavors.


Apollo Eagle art!

It is always good to see art in a library – a visual reminder that information comes in all kinds of formats, and we should be ready to share them all. This was particularly interesting art, as it is a chain saw carving done by Minnesota artist Jerry Faber (Walker, MN). This kind of traditional art has information and meaning beyond the message of the Apollo Eagle; it also demonstrates the value of folk art done by talented artists working with tools available to them. Art is for everyone!

Reader’s Advisory tools

It is probably no surprise that I, along with almost all library people, am a big reader. So, when I saw these really good binders filled with book suggestions, it was a struggle to not just stand there and take notes about the recommendations! And no – I was not able to stop myself from picking them up and flipping thru the pages.  As another demonstration of reaching out to patrons with different kinds of tools – some people will be more comfortable with paper and binders, while others will flinch away and reach for a phone to look online. Both types of searching are fine; we need to be ready to respond to all patrons with information tools that work for them. So not only did I enjoy these, but other patrons had obviously been using them as well!

Be like Batman!

On the way out, I saw this at the Circ Desk! Working with students can add a level of complexity to any library job; and it is important to keep up your sense of humor! And again – this is a great way to reach out to the patrons who need to hear a message. They may not necessarily recognize the 14th Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden (follow her on Twitter @LibnOfCongress); but everyone knows Batman. While it may be difficult to calculate the ROI on the sign in terms of returned materials, just the moment of seeing it and having a quick laugh may plant the seed of returned books in the patrons!

As always, there were so many other great things to see here! Use these posts as opportunity to reach out to your colleagues. Library people across CMLE are doing all kinds of different and interesting things; let’s connect to talk about issues faced across the system! CMLE Headquarters is here to make everyone stronger!