Tag Archives: member visits

Visiting St. Cloud State’s Library!

You already know this, but visiting our members is our favorite part of the job! It is always great to see the things different libraries have, or things they try. Every library truly does have something special to see.

St Cloud State University’s library has all kinds of great things to see! I would like to set up a member group visit here, to admire the library and also to meet the new University Library Dean, Rhonda Huisman. We will have an upcoming poll on a good day and time, so start flipping through your calendars now!

For those who have been reading all about our visits to member libraries, you know that I’m such a fan of customer service – so this made me extremely happy to see! It is not always possible for a Dean, or a Director, to be accessible to the community all the time – but making it easy to at least find SOMEONE who can answer questions or help with problems can go a long way toward making patrons feel positive about the library.

Being beautiful is not a requirement for a successful library – but of course a nice setting with an open and airy feeling makes everyone feel good. This library has deliberately added art throughout the library, for sharing information in a visual way, and providing patrons with art to admire.  I love this large textile sculpture, called Sunshine Rain created in 1976 by Merle H. Sykora.

You can see a different angle on the artwork in this shot – as well as the up and down staircases you can traverse on that end of the library. (Of course, it’s good for everyone to get up and walk around more often; providing some extra steps for people moving from one end of the second floor to the other also gives patrons the chance to take some time to admire this lovely space!)


See those cardboard squares on the shelves? Those, for the kids today, are called records. It’s exciting to have all these records available for fans of vinyl or for people who need the experience of this format. As I said earlier, it’s always exciting to see what you will uncover in a library – and there is always something unique in every library!

I will always be won over with good seating – and check out these tables! People sitting down to work need more space than just a computer – they need to have space for books and other materials right there. These tables provide patrons with not only computer access, but good space to work and even a little privacy from neighbors. Great!

Continue reading Visiting St. Cloud State’s Library!

Visiting Sartell Middle School!

It is always so fun to visit our member libraries – and the Sartell Middle School was definitely a great time!

The library and tech center are currently in different locations, but still work as a team and are looking forward to being back together in their next building. In the meantime, things are looking pretty good!

Just look at those smiley books – I love to see cheery art in libraries! It really does help to attract people to a library when the environment is welcoming. Usability in design is a key factor in driving use of the materials we have to share with our communities; so making it fun is always going to be the right choice!


The library was filled with patrons, who we always avoid photographing (privacy is important!), but this quick shot across the room shows not only the cute art that is all over the library – but also the nice display and the sturdy furniture! Creating a space is just the first step in an effective library; building a collection that is connected to patron needs and wants  – and in a school that means connecting it to the curriculum – is another important aspect. You can see how nicely everything is set up here, to encourage use of the collection! (Books that just sit and look cute are a waste – making it cute to encourage circulation is the way to go!!)

We trudged down the hall to the tech area, and things were lovely here too!

I know this table and chair set is supposed to be good for kids, to help them fidget around so they can pay attention; and the whiteboard tabletop encourages creativity. I get that it’s supposed to be one of those “kid”perks – but I really want this for my office!!! I can fidget and be productive with markers too – I’m just sure!! (Feel free to bring these cool accessories over to our office for the holidays!)


This is a big room, with plenty of space to try out some cool things!

The big shelves filled with projects and activities were definitely exciting looking – I wanted to go try out some things, so I’m sure kids would be excited too! (Note: They really were! The place was definitely hopping before school, with kids trying out all kinds of great things!)



Look at this cool Jenga set! The very excellent wooden blocks were stacked really high – so it was satisfyingly dramatic when a misplaced block was removed and the entire thing crashed to the floor! (Yes it was also very cool to watch it be built – but everyone loves a good crash!)




  3d printers are increasingly popular in  all libraries, because you can do so many neat things with them! Of course it’s fun to make cute plastic items; but the plans for these printers is much grander. Kids need to know all kinds of technology skills, and these printers will be used to teach kids how to manipulate objects digitally then to create them in the physical world – great!

When I visit libraries, of course I’m a guest – so it wouldn’t be polite to just grab things away from the patrons. But: Reader, I was tempted here! These are round robots, each being driven by a separate person as they race around this track! The students could use apps to direct their robots to zoom all around the course, banging into each other and having a great time. Later, the tools they use will be adjusted so the students will have to do their own coding to make the robots go – an excellent idea!! Coding skills are important in being an information literate member of society, and it’s great to see that happening in such a fun environment!

      This photo of the little drones is slightly blurry, as I was excitedly talking with a student about these and the other tech devices. Listening to the kids themselves explaining what they were doing, and what kinds of cool things they could develop, was fantastic!


Have we been to your library yet?? You know we want to visit, so we are inviting ourselves over! Just give me a day and time, and we will be happy to come gush with library-joy over your stuff!!

CMLE Visits: Pine Meadow Elementary School

It is always so fun to visit our members! One of the great things about being part of a multitype system is the opportunity to see the work being done across all kinds of libraries – a lot of similarities, but everyone has some distinctions.

This visit was to the Pine Meadows Elementary School in Sartell. You can see the welcoming atmosphere right away in the cute colors and signage around the library.

One of the first distinctive things you notice when visiting an elementary school library, as opposed to any other CMLE member, is that they focus on usability for their community members with furniture! Everything is designed for smaller sized people, as usability is key for any kind of library.

In this library, the furniture and shelving is not only size-appropriate for the audience they are trying to serve, but cute and colorful! (I love the way these round chairs look – enticing to kids!)


Colorful items are a key component in any cheerful library, especially in one serving younger patrons. These cute and colorful drawers are separated for different age groups, filled with activities to do after the students have finished their work.  Puzzles, games, and things to color are part of the offerings – all easily sorted and accessible.


Shelves filled with nice-looking books make their contents enticing! The books are carefully labeled, to show patrons the different qualities of the books they may want to read.  Books left on the shelves are not doing patrons any good, so this kind of marketing is great to see! (See that collection of blue Hardy Boys books? My brother and I read all of them, and seeing them in any library always makes me happy!)

Installing seating right at the point of material availability is a great idea! Give patrons the chance to be so entranced by the books they are finding, that they sink into a chair to look through them.  Displaying popular or interesting books at eye level is another great way to be sure they are easily found by patrons.

  Again, thinking about usability is key for patrons of any age. The descriptions of the Dewey numbers make a system that is incomprehensible to our patrons more understandable. I love to see these kinds of signs! If patrons understand the groupings of our materials, and know where to find things, they are more likely to take materials home with them – which is our goal! (Libraries do not collect items for ourselves – they are for our patrons to use.)

In addition to the cute (and useful!) furniture in this library, they have a regular display spotlighting authors! The books were flying off the shelves here – always great to see. Displaying materials draws the interest of patrons this way is always valuable for patrons – and the more they use materials, the better everyone does!

And of course, libraries are so much more than just books now! We are information centers, with all kinds of information literacy and resources for our patrons to use as they learn! Makerspaces of all sorts are increasingly popular in libraries, and this one is no exception. In this section of the makerspace you can see the crayons neatly sorted, and all kinds of great material to draw, color, and work with.  Again, color is always eye-catching, and the really cute signs on the walls help draw your attention to the fun you can have here, learning about graphics!

In a small room attached to the main library room there are other treasures to find! On the left you can see more makerspace material of all sorts – a great array of projects to try. And on the right you can see a green screen and some of the material used in video creation! This kind of information literacy building is great to see – kids need to know how to both use and create digital materials to be fully literate people in today’s world. More technology skills learned at a young age just help to put them farther down the road toward success later!

I love this feature that I’m seeing in more libraries: a self-check system. In this library, patrons can return books themselves. This frees up staff time to focus on providing more in-person service to patrons; and it gives patrons a better understanding of one aspect of library operations, and another opportunity to practice their technology skills! When they go to a public library, they are likely to have a chance to self-check books; so this practice will be valuable.

 And fundamentally libraries are here to provide instruction and assistance for their communities! We are information professionals, and here to  help our communities access materials of all types. So this dedicated instructional location is not only really cute – but so important in providing quality service!

If you want to reach out and make connections, Amy is in her first year in this library – and has some great energy and ideas to share! Contact her here: Amy Moe, Instructional Technology Specialist, PME-Sartell Schools amy.moe@sartell.k12.mn.us.

Have we been to your library yet? We are visiting all 300+ CMLE members to see the great things everyone is doing  – and we want to see you! Send us an email TODAY, and give us three different days/times that work for you. (Email: admin@cmle.org)  Let’s get this visit underway, and share your information with the rest of the community!

CMLE Resources: Library Visits

As part of our continuing series, walking you around our website to point out information and resources you might use, our library visits are very fun!

Yes, the visits themselves are fun. We love going to see our members, and to admire the work everyone is doing.  There are so many interesting things happening across the CMLE system, that it is always a treat to see them all!

And our mission is to share information and to help build connections across all our members in the system. We know many of you are working solo, or with only one or two other people (this describes most of our members!); and that feeling of being alone, and being the only one who does what you do, or who cares about what you care about, can be hard.

We not only really enjoy visiting our members; sharing the workings of all kinds of libraries can help everyone to feel connected. You can see things going on in other places, and you can find people who do what you do! You might get some new ideas, you might think about different types of displays, or different materials. Or, you might “just” enjoy seeing what other library people are dong!

We are steadily adding to our list of libraries visited – but we want to come see YOU! We will be visiting all our members (300+ of you!), so you could really help us out by offering up a day and time before we have to track you down. (Because, you know we WILL track you down eventually!)

And in the meantime, just enjoy looking at some very nice libraries. We are a multitype system, so our members are from all over the profession; these kinds of articles let you see that we all have much more in  common than any professional differences.

Libraries are  excellent! Let’s all visit more often!!

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