The Real Paul Jones

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Libraries on the Tracks and on the Ropes

Paul, · Categories: General, Information Commons

Pre-opening pic of the Children's Librarian's desks
Just back from visiting my folks who are now just west of Charlotte in Matthews. As a sort of busman’s holiday, we also stopped by the new Matthews Branch Library which is the bottom floor of the Matthews Town Hall. The impressive, but almost cornily designed, building has a cupola and large letters that read “Town Hall – Library.” Now that’s a good balance.
Matthews has built a little off road Main Street of shops, the old Train Station, a caboose and a grand circle with Town Hall – Library at the end of it. One side is bordered by a still very much in use railroad track. In the library, the Children’s Section is on the track side with windows always unshaded so that the patrons in that section might wave at the trainsmen — and also because those patrons actually delight in the noise of a passing train. The more relaxed adult sections have stuffed chairs and a fireplace (not working while we were there despite the cold) set as far as possible from the tracks. The layout of the stacks and sections is such that you can have a readaloud in the Children’s and still not be disturbed in the Adult areas.
While there is Internet access throughout the building, the special Internet room with support and monitoring is set apart from the books and other activity areas. I did not see any signs about wireless access. (Wireless access is available less than a block away at the Dilworth Coffee Company — which is not in Dilworth). There are not that many computers there that I saw but I think more than are listed at the Library’s website which was put together before the place opened. Many 30 or so all told.
The train motif is carried off throughout the Children’s Section with the Children’s librarian desks set up like a large steam-powered locomotive (owner’s of the Thomas trademark should not look too closely at this) and a very very large set of crossing lights hanging from the ceiling.
The stacks are wide and welcoming with several faceout displays at the end of various section rows. Most noted ‘favorites’ or ‘staff favorites.’ Note of interest: not many of the staff favorites were recent publications although the selections were quite eclectic.
Over all the library was warm and light, well-stocked (although I did not do any kind of content review), and an excellent example of a branch library.

In less happy, but related, news, Salinas California is closing its three public libraries. The Friends of the Salinas Public Library have kept up with the latest events and news stories for us.

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