None of us had ever been to the Hannibal Free Library but the blue library sign pointed us in the right direction. We found a lively community center (residents have reclaimed a retired Baptist church and worked some magic) hosting the library, a senior center, the historical society and a preschool.
|Stained glass windows original to the church overlook the public computers.|
Shelly Stanton, the director, was away on unexpected business but we were welcomed by Wendy Johnson with warm smiles and lots of information. The library has the church's original stained glass windows and lots of comfortable seating scattered throughout. A patron followed us in to settle at one of the public access computers. We found a charming “secret” corner seating arrangement for children to curl up with a book. A display of lovely bookmarks made by a patron sits for sale on the circulation desk near a book purchase signup sheet for a local author’s new title. The Christmas decorations included a Wish Tree for the library - a small tabletop tree with paper ornaments has notes like “stamps” written on the back for patrons to donate a gift of supplies truly needed by the library.
There is a room above the library that is used for story time and children’s activities and (on alternate days) for the nursery school. It is a bright and cheery space for local children. We watched the nursery school class perform an animated Christmas song during our visit. The homeschoolers and the Historical Society meet there as well - a great multi-purpose room.
Downstairs, a door connects the library with the senior center, a large room with a mounted flat screen TV and an alcove holding a kitchen. Seniors meet there for lunches and activities. The center’s staff were very friendly and very proud of all the amenities the center has to offer.
(Check out more photos of the Hannibal Free Library!)
We next headed to Mexico Public Library to congratulate Dorothy Dineen, the director, on her $50,000 grant from Senator Patty Ritchie.
|The front window at Mexico Public Library.|
Mexico Public Library is a store front library that is warm and welcoming. The entrance lobby has the door to library, the stairway access to the community room upstairs and a great selection of used books for sale. On this day, the front window held a charming book sculpture Christmas tree complete with lights. Six public access computers are the gateway to connected rooms full of books. Laurel Vanderver and Nancy Nicholson, employees of the library, welcomed us at the front desk.
The children’s room has story book character murals including a Shel Silverman poem and drawing, a rocking chair, children’s table and chairs and stuffed toys. The walls are warm colored or brick and currently display artwork from local schools. We loved the old card catalog as a stand for the computer catalog.
Thank you to both Hannibal and Mexico Libraries for being so welcoming and gracious, especially as the first visits in our grand plan. As advocates for libraries and library systems, just these two visits have validated that libraries are strong resources for their communities.
(Check out more photos of the Mexico Public Library!)
And thanks to Noreen and Betty for sharing this project. Follow their continuing adventures here at The Frozen Librarian!