Continuing our series of visits to CMLE area libraries, I was able to visit and chat with the staff at the Cambridge Public Library, as well as the East Central Regional Library Headquarters. Thanks to Barb Misselt, Sarah Hawkins, and Carla Lydon for taking time out to show me around libraries all day, and to give me a lot of good info on libraries in their area!
Although we were all sad to hear about the defeat of the Cambridge ballot measure for a much-needed new building (for more information on this and 70+ initiatives voted on across the country, check here), the library itself is still providing some great resources to its community! This sign, displayed in the community room, is a great example of the work they are doing to reach out to patrons and to serve their community! Libraries are in the business of providing information and entertainment; and we need to always search for that “yes” to give to our community.
On my day of being shown around some of the ECRL libraries, it was great to see so many library people doing all kinds of interesting things in the different branches! The Princeton branch was like all others, in that there were a lot of patrons there using materials and some very exciting visual displays of library materials and artwork. They are also in a very beautiful building, with windows everywhere and a beautiful view of the Rum River. The prairie style interior and decor really emphasized the natural setting around the library. The result is just lovely!
When you walk in the front door, it is totally natural to look up in admiration for this art installation. These round paintings by Minnesota artist Amy Sabrina, to commemorate different aspects of the life of Elmer L. Anderson, the 30th Governor of Minnesota. The visual biography is very striking, and again shows how visual representations of information can be so useful in conveying ideas to people. Libraries are here to share information in a way that is meaningful to the patron; visual tools are one strategy for this!
One of the fun things about visiting any library is seeing the displays they create for books! Creativity in libraries is valuable, and looking at different libraries gives different ideas for displays and things to celebrate in your own library! Celebrating Eloise is always fun, and her creator, Kay Thompson‘s birthday was Nov 9, 1909; so this is a great demonstration of library fun! Continue reading Visiting the Princeton Area Library→
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!
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!
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!
This is such a nice library! The design, the services, the materials – all have been designed to connect to their patrons. That care taken in libraries for the needs of patrons is always impressive! On this trip I was escorted around the building by Vi Bergquist, CIO for SCTCC – and Treasurer for the CMLE Board.
If you do not think “comfortable seating” in a library is important – you are missing an important element of good service! In a research study I did across the state of Illinois, this came up as one of the big things patrons wanted. In this setting, the furniture not only looks well designed and comfortable, but they have thought about user needs. You can see the entrance just behind the couch; these high backs help to block out noise and to let students continue to converse and work together. Great planning like this leads to great results for patrons!
I absolutely loved this! As the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, I know some of the struggles veterans and their families face. The work this school is doing to reach out to veterans in the community is truly impressive! This table, part of a national tradition of remembrance, was set up in the common area, for everyone to see and to reflect. They have a Veteran Services department in the school, which can really help out veterans and family members. A couple of meaningful awards are listed on their page:
“The Military Times Best for Vets distinction recognizes St. Cloud Technical & Community College for its commitment to providing opportunities to America’s veterans.”
“G.I. Jobs, the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has awarded St. Cloud Technical & Community College the designation of Military Friendly School® for the third year in a row.”
Angie and I are on a mission to visit all our CMLE member libraries – and we are making some great progress! This week we were invited to visit the library at the St. Cloud Hospital, by librarian Susan Schleper. We are sharing all these library visits with you, our members (and others!), to help everyone see the diversity of service we are providing across the CMLE system. And we want you to know what is going on in different libraries, so you feel invited to contact each other to talk about partnerships or sharing ideas for great service! Many of you are solo librarians, or working with others who are not doing the same kinds of things you do – but someone else in the system probably does it or wants to learn more about it. So: read, be awed by all we do here in the CMLE area, and reach out to each other! (And us! At Headquarters we like to partner too!!)
Most visitors to the hospital library are probably not as enthusiastic as we were to be there – but look at this location! If you are in the hospital as a patient or visitor – drop by to look at their materials. It can be very helpful to have a spot to just take a break; and the library can be that space. (I managed to keep my hands off their copy of the Hunger Games. But it was a close thing! Visiting libraries and NOT reading their books is really hard for a book-loving librarian!)