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Barron, Wisconsin Public Library
This was a serendipitous visit. With a friend, I'd already visited two Wisconsin libraries (and the annual tent sale in Glen Flora!) and we were headed for home in Minnesota. A needed stop in Barron put us right across the street from the library, and the sign about their 100th year. And they would be open for about 20 more minutes! I had to move fast!
In the lobby, I saw the old card catalog file, still filled with cards. I should have asked about it. Card catalogs have been turning up more and more--see the entry for Philips Exeter, for example. The lobby also held the Friends book sale; $1.00 for a bagful this week, but there was no time for shopping.
I headed upstairs, following a sign to the children's area. Moving and scribbling notes faster than I would have liked, I found a the kids' books shelved on classic wooden shelves, Playaways and recorded books in turntable slots, a cabinet full of shells and coral, kid-sized chairs and couch. Someone had made a large structure of Duplo blocks. A notice by the computer says that the library now has access to the Accelerated Reader lists. [Mixed feelings about that, folks.] A sign points out that parents are responsible for their children: "Do not leave young children unattended through age 11." This seems especially important since the children's area is on a separate level of the building.
Back downstairs I found the adult fiction and non-fiction collections, DVDs and genre paperbacks in spinners, lots of large print books, a section labeled "Inspiration Fiction," a microfiche reader, and four public computers. Although it was very close to closing time, a librarian was giving detailed technical help to one computer user. How the librarian's job has changed!
Clerestory windows add brightness to the browsing area. A free-standing shelf in this area holds books on languages, including ESL, and on citizenship. It was nice to see these featured. The reference section includes several 3-ring binders of Barron County history.
I talked to a very enthusiastic librarian who wanted to be sure that I realized I was in a Carnegie library--and I hadn't known that, although the older part of the building gives all sorts of hints, at least one of them not at all subtle--see second picture below. It's the Carnegie part of the building that is celebrating a centennial this year. The design was done, or at least influenced, by Frank Lloyd Wright; my notes are sketchy, perhaps someone reading this will clarify in a comment...please?