Visiting the Milaca library is like stopping by a friend’s house, one who has comfy chairs, cool art, and lots of cool books and material! The library had a lot of patrons who clearly agreed with this idea, as patrons were all over the library and apparently enjoying the facility. This kind of community library, clearly connecting with patron needs, is always a valuable asset to any community!
One of the highlights of the library is the center of the library, with a recessed art displays. This art is a visual representation of the early history of the area, and schools can sometimes bring students by at just the right time in their study of local history to actually see this visual display! The murals were created by Deborah Morrison Vriesen in 2007. The funding came from the Milaca Friends of the Library, and a grant from the East Central Arts Council. This kind of community art in a library is a valuable way to convey information in a visual format – all part of our mission to share information with our communities!
And of course, as in all libraries, there are also paper books available on the shelves! This display is set up to help people looking for a new read or some new directions in theme, to find something that will be interesting to them. Misty is our recommender here, and I’m putting a couple of these onto my own to-read list – thanks!
This is where you really get the vibe of being in the living room of a good friend who has nice chairs and books! Look at this comfy area with the lovely river rock fireplace. Surrounded by all those book shelves and nice chairs, this looks like a great place to sit and enjoy a snowy Minnesota afternoon. (I managed to refrain from just hanging out here for an hour or so – but it was a struggle!)
In yet another display of the outreach to community users in all kinds of tools, there are all kinds of games here for patrons! These can add a level of complexity to the work of a library’s circ staff (keeping track of pieces is a challenge), but this library has worked out a system for sharing materials with the patrons.
Standing in the library’s children’s section gives a great perspective on adding usability to the collection! Not only are the shelves just the right height for kid-sized patrons, but the displays of books with their interesting covers will also draw attention. And, as you can see here – there are all kinds of really large, intricate, and exciting models on display everywhere!
These library cats are the stuffed kind – just as well because they look potentially large and scary otherwise! Many libraries have pets of different types, including the live and purring variety; but these are certainly easier to take care of on a daily basis. They were named by community voting, and are currently lounging comfortably in the window seat just to the left of these signs. When you stop in, feel free to pet them!
Stepping across the library from the Children’s department you walk into a very cool Teen section! While still a part of the library as a whole, this area is designed with a wall of neatly-arranged bookshelves blocking easy viewing, comfortable chairs, and these very cool murals on the wall and ceiling all contribute to making a space where teens can hang out on their terms.
Libraries need to keep reaching out to their communities, and to provide information and resources that are relevant to people. This display is a great example of an easy, but valuable, strategy for achieving that goal! People can always use some new recipes for holidays, especially the food-intensive ones; and having a quick way to share them not only shows respect for people’s interests, but also provides that information in a way that is accessible. (Digital recipes are all over the internet, but it may be easier to cook with paper printouts – and here they are!)
It was great to visit this library, and thank you to everyone at ECRL who took the time to show me around, and answer lots of questions about the neat things in their libraries!! I am really looking forward to seeing more of them! Are you ready for a visit, so we can share the things you are doing in your library? No need to wait in line – send us an email and let’s set up a visit!! We will be visiting every library over the next several months, to help connect all our members here and let everyone get acquainted. We are also planning to set up some group visits to different libraries around the system that everyone can sign up for, to let us meet up in person and to see how other libraries are doing their work. We are stronger as a system when we work together!