Tag Archives: CMLE Library visit

Sartell Community Center

The Sartell Community Center has opened an unofficial library, staffed by volunteers. And they have partnered with Great River libraries to provide a locker system to provide locals with an easy way to pick up books from the system.

People can also drop off their books for Great River libraries here at the community center. And take a moment to admire the art wraps around both of these devices – they really add to the cool factor!




It’s always fun to see art in any type of library – and these book statues are so neat! Giant stacks of books can just put you right into the mood to read a bunch of actual books.

Shelves of books are always nice to view – and it’s great to see volunteers who have clearly worked so hard to provide a nice resource for their community!


And when you combine lots of books with comfy seating, you really have a great place! Community members can check in with the volunteers to take home books. And there are plans for computers and maker-spaces and potentially other fun activities!

  So Sartell residents, you can check out your new community center, with all kinds of activities for you to enjoy. And while you are there, take advantage of the partnership with Great River and the also the resources available in this library room!

Vacation Library Visit Series: Libraries of Quebec City!

We all know that visiting libraries is one of the best parts of being on a vacation, right? (It definitely is!) When employees of CMLE HQ travel, of course we visit libraries along the way!

I was lucky enough to spend several days in Quebec City last spring, and got to visit two of the city’s libraries! (If you’re interested in international libraries, make sure to check out our podcast episode on the subject!)

Our first stop was to the Maison de la littérature 

There was lots of construction happening outside so I was excited to get inside and check things out!

I was so impressed! The space is beautiful and housed in the former Wesley Temple, but has a very modern feel with lots of natural light.

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The library had several levels but was open concept so I was able to get a good view as I climbed higher. Lots of places to read, work on computers, or learn from a variety of computerized displays.

It was so fun to see separate work spaces, browse the shelves (even though it was all in French!) and admire displays.

To learn more about the Maison de la littérature, check out their website, which states, “Open to all, Maison de la littérature is a place for writing, creating, meeting, and participating—bringing literature to life in a lively, warm, and inviting setting. It is a space for the spoken and written word and for the creation and dissemination of the literary arts. It offers residents, authors, and literary professionals an inspiring space with a range of collections, services, activities, and events.”

Next on our agenda was to visit the English language library, the Morrin Center, which houses a library with English materials as well as the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec.

This building has a very interesting history and “reflects four major periods of Quebec City history and bears witness to the French- and English-language communities that contributed to its heritage and made it what it is today. ” For much of the building’s history it was used as a public prison, until it became Quebec City’s first English-language college.

Today the library definitely has a cozy vintage feel, with a wonderful smell of old books and creaky hardwood floors. I had so much fun exploring their collections!

When you first walk in, seeing all the books is pretty exciting! I loved that the second story of books was visible behind the intricate balcony.






There were lots of seating options, although I had to be careful around certain pieces of fragile furniture, like this couch. The sign reads (in both English and French): “This sofa is probably older than your grandmother. Please sit down gently, as you would on her knees.”

I enjoyed wandering around the library and admiring all their books and the beautiful building. We weren’t able to go on one of the guided tours of the building, but they look like fun!

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These visits to Quebec City’s libraries were definitely a fun (and free!) way to learn more about the city and see how residents utilize their library services!

Vacation Library Visit Series: Grand Marais Public Library

We all know that visiting libraries is one of the best parts of being on a vacation, right? (It definitely is!) Whenever I travel, I visit libraries along the way – and it’s always a great way to meet interesting people (library people are ALWAYS interesting!), and to see some great things (there are ALWAYS great things in libraries!).

I was recently in Grand Marais, MN, enjoying the incredible beauty of the area, the abundant state parks, lovely hiking trails, and spending quality time in my tent with all my library books. (Yes, this is pretty much my definition of a perfect vacation!)

I was planning to visit the library in Grand Marais anyway, but the eye-catching art installation outside alerted me to the library before I even had a chance to Google it. I love the bright colors! When I went inside to chat with Director Steve Harsin, he had a small model on his desk – fantastic!

You can immediately see this is a library designed for its users, and to bring in the community.  While we in the profession understand the value of Dewey and Library of  Congress (LC) and other cataloging systems, our patrons find them confusing. So I am always so very happy to see libraries taking that extra step to make their collections accessible!! See those signs? They are identifying the areas of the collection, so everyone can easily see where to look for their favorite topics. At this point, I had been in the library less than five minutes and I was in love.


In any library, you want to reach out to all of your community members, and in a public library that includes the very young members. I love to see these kinds of Children’s sections, with size-appropriate furniture and shelving! The bright colors, the toys, and the big selection of books all make this seem like a comfy place to visit – and would encourage a lot of kids to take more books home!


Again, this library shows how they are thinking of their community members. The Parenting shelf, filled with good material, is right there in the Children’s section. And they point out there are other resources for finding material in the main collection – these are just easily available and ready to circulate!


I did a big research project a few years ago, to find out what poeple want from their public libraries. “Comfortable seating” was one of the biggies! This is not a big surprise, of course: encouraging patrons to sit, relax, and enjoy some reading can help them to not only have a good experience in the library  – but also encourage them to take home the great stuff they find on your shelves!

Even in the lobby area, the seating looks great – and I did test it out, so can affirm that it was indeed comfy! (Library research work never ends!!)


There are assorted library workstations across the area – very important in any rural area where internet access at home may not exist. Libraries have such an important role to play in communities by providing this kind of access to information. Yes, I’m biased (still!) – but we are just wonderful!

Just another example of the library serving the needs of all their different customers here! The whole library does not need to be silent – all that great information is just too exciting to keep quiet! But we have community members who want to come in, sit down, and just have some quiet time with their books and materials. This library is providing that experience.


I love seeing Reference desks in libraries! Their names may change, but their functions never do: This is where you go to get help from an information expert. If you need assistance finding just the right book, or working on your resume, or uncovering a complicated question – the people at the Reference desk are here to help!

At CMLE, we are big fans of libraries – and of our supporters: library Friends and volunteers! (Check out our podcast on this topic!) It is always so fun to see the things Friends do to  support their libraries; and it looks like the Friends here are working to help their library!


Again, this library is showing how they work to connect with their community members. I love seeing this book, and took a quick photo show their entries – look at that beautiful handwriting!!!

I was so entranced by everything else in the library that I didn’t even see this until I went back outside to relax in a chair and enjoy the free WiFi (thanks!!): a ping pong table!! The sign encourages people to go inside and check out the equipment to play. I absolutely love to see this kind of fun stuff in a library. We are awesome places, filled with great things – and fun is always a part of that!!

Thank you to everyone on the staff here who patiently put up with my questions, and my general library joy! This library was impressive – and that has been recognized by the Library Journal. Grand Marais Public Library has received the only  Minnesota library five-star rating in this journal’s annual ratings! Pretty exciting for them, and well deserved!! If you are visiting the area, be sure to stop in and admire their work!

A visit to St. Cloud Christian School library

I took a recent visit to the St. Cloud Christian School library – and it was so nice!

This is a small school, and there was a strong sense of community here, and you could see that not only in the library but also across the entire school.


This room is the current Board room, but used to be the library! All the material had to be transported up to the new library location, where they have much more space available. Thinking about expanding library needs is always valuable, and so good to see in a parent organization.


The tech lab is nicely outfitted with laptops for students. Having this room connected to the library, and a significant part of it, means students are connected to information in paper and  digital formats – both important for their skill development.

Also in the tech lab are the YA novels.  Like all school libraries working with a broad range of student ages and experience levels, thinking about ways to share books in an age-appropriate, or useful, way is part of the process of designing the book placement.


And I just loved this! As is true in most libraries, space and access are at a premium. These bookshelves hold books for the younger patrons, and used to be turned on their sides. But you can just imagine the chaos when excited young patrons start pushing books out of the way to get to their very favorite one! So they flipped the shelf over, and now all the kids can reach the books, and they stay (reasonably) organized! Libraries are great places for being innovative, and figuring out how to serve our community members in great ways.

Older patrons have books and materials on more standard book shelves, including the photo on the right filled with DVDs!


The librarian in me loves schedules; so I was possibly overly excited to see the nicely organized schedule!



You can get a good perspective on the entire library here, and it was a little tough to get a shot without the enthusiastic patrons using the library!


I love Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys, books – so this was very fun to see!! (I may have gushed with happiness here just a bit.) I grew up reading these yellow and blue covered versions of the books – and of course I watched every episode of the TV show!

(For you unfortunate souls not old enough to remember the 1970s, watching The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries show was so exciting! Check out the opening theme song, and feel the scary chills! There was not enough attention on Nancy Drew (Pamela Sue Martin); but Shaun Cassidy (playing Joe Hardy) was hitting as a major hottie and music star – on the cover of many Dynamite magazine covers! So. Much. Feathered. Hair!)

It’s always good to see community involvement in any library – and student/patron created art is such a great sign of library interest! This technology art hanging on the library wall is both eye-catching, and shows off the future directions of the library and the patrons in it!



And they even have the basic library features of a reference desk, and a new book display!! This library may be small, but is mighty in providing service to its community!

A visit to Rogers High School Library

Another visit to a very nice high school library! And again – it was so fun to see all the neat things here! (Is it just that CMLE libraries are cool? Probably.)

Bethany Kauffman is the library person here, and has been an enthusiastic CMLE member – so it was great to get to see her library!

I loved seeing this feature right away – libraries hosting book groups are not only clearly fulfilling their mission to promote books, but are also are doing the important work of connecting with their users! Making those connections, providing programming people want to enjoy in the library – those user-centered ideas are the foundation of any good library.

Check out this cool computer lab! Although more schools are moving toward a 1 to 1 Chromebook/laptop program, reducing the need for labs, there are still good teaching programs to be done in a lab, in addition to other important uses, and providing this in a library is a great resource! (Plus, look how nicely organized this is; maybe it’s the librarian in me, but this makes me happy to see.)

I love these long views over the library! You can see how far-ranging the resources are here, and how many neat things there are available for students in this library. It’s a good perspective to have! Here we are looking out over the fiction collection.

Continue reading A visit to Rogers High School Library