CMLE Visits our Member Libraries: St. Cloud public

A group of CMLE members visited the Great River Library System’s library in St Cloud. And as you can see by the pictures, we had a great time!

Thanks to Karen for organizing this for us, and to Chris and Neil for being our gracious tour guides!!

Visiting libraries to see what is happening in other places, and connecting with other CMLE members, have been some of the top requests from people across the system. We will be making monthly group visits to libraries of all types in CMLE.  Let us know when we can come visit you!!

Immediately, you can see that the staff at Great River is good at not only library work, but they are also artistic! This display of art works of all media comes with the creator’s name and branch location carefully labeled. A few things have already been sold, so you might want to dash over to check it all out!

We toured the  Children’s Department, and as you can see there was a lot to admire. From the murals painted on the wall, to the very cool book pack kits (a few books all on a theme, with an activity!), to the comfy seating for parents (and pregnant moms!) to enjoy while kids enjoyed their books – it was all designed to be fun and accessible.

Because library services are more than “just” providing books to kids, there are also a collection of animals to enjoy! For kids who do not have pets at home (or those of us who are kids at heart!), seeing the library pets is always fun. The dinosaurs may not technically count as pets; but they certainly provide fun for patrons! (Sometimes a little too much fun, if kids stick themselves into the tank to retrieve them! This is strongly discouraged; the dinos prefer to be admired from afar.)

We were all pleasantly startled by the balls rolling around the children’s programming room – especially when we realized they each had a gerbil dashing around! The gerbils seemed interested in all these visitors, and rolled happily around for their morning exercise routine before the library opened to patrons.

It is always exciting to get a behind-the-scenes tour of a library, especially to see how it compares to your work. All libraries do pretty much the same things; and seeing how other places organize can give you ideas on refreshing your own routines!

Here we are all admiring WALL-E, the automated book sorter. Apparently it has advantages in speeding along the return process; and also has a personality that can inhibit successful operations. Technology is a wonderful tool! And sometimes it can make you want to kick things.

Fortunately, the staff seem well-prepared to be resilient and cope with difficulties that may arise in their workday. It is always good to have a space for relaxation and enjoyment, even on the busiest days. CMLE Headquarters is a strong supporter of stress management at work!

Chris demonstrated some of the kits available to be sent out to the  31 other branches. She is demonstrating a small sized kit for fall story time. It comes with books, instructions on a project, felt figures, and a stuffed animal – everything you need to have a good storytime. It’s always great to have this kind of thing organized in advance and shared. Whatever you can do to automate the time-wasting activities you do gives you more time to spend out front with patrons! She also showed us the kits available for senior centers, each labeled with a different topic people would enjoy remembering. Thinking about the best ways to reach out to different patron groups is always a challenge; but it provides the best service!

More behind-the-scenes action here! We got a preview of the summer reading program, and the adorable little fellas being readied for distribution. And we we able to admire a lot of art, including these awesome butterflies and dragon on the wall in Chris’ office!

More of the behind-the-scenes things to see, this time on the second floor! There are all sorts of cool projects, offices, and things to see up there.

How good are you at guessing book titles? The Great River libraries can request these tubs of shredded books, classics that have been weeded after they are no longer useful in circulation. (Spoiler: we identified one as “To Kill a Mockingbird” after seeing a few significant names!)

And this staff room would make it hard for me to propel myself back to work! Bright, airy, and filled with light, this provides a good place for staff to have lunch/dinner, and to get away from things for a few minutes. It was lovely, and having a space to take a break is an important part of work, allowing you to come back recharged and ready to serve patrons again!

And of course, we all loved seeing the books! These were displays upstairs (YA and adult books) and downstairs (kids area), and there were several more. As we walked by shelves filled with books, most of us could not resist pulling things off the shelves, browsing books, or even picking up books we had on hold! We are definitely library users and fans, as well as being library workers!

Thanks to everyone who attended, and to Great River for giving us such a good tour!

Our next member tour will be Tuesday, March 21, 3:00 pm, at St John’s University library, so we can see their newly renovated building. We hope you will join us!

Our next member social dinner will be Wednesday, March 15, 5:30pm, at Old Chicago in St. Cloud. And we would also love to see you there!