Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Noel Wien Library

Noel Wien Library
1215 Cowles Street
Fairbanks, AK 99701

Monday - Thursday 10-9
Friday 10-6
Saturday 10-5
Sunday 1-5
(Closed on Sundays during the summer)

Today Mike and I visited the Noel Wien Library for the first time. It is a pretty easy bike ride from the University area. Once you get past the gigantor Fred Meyer intersection, there's a nice bike lane (sidewalk) that is set a little bit off from the main road. We took our driver's licenses, and since they still have Alabama stamped on them, we each took a piece of mail we had recieved in Fairbanks to prove our residency. After standing in line at Reference, we were redirected to the Circulation desk, where it took about 2 minutes to get our cards. This is my favorite library card design so far, much better than Huntsville's simple book outline or Hiroshima's striped logo. As soon as the librarian handed my card to me, I showed it to Mike and beamed. "It'll be a cool souvenier," he said.

Library Card

Along with our new cards, the librarian handed us two neat and useful brochures about library hours, policies, and a helpful map of the library.

Newbie Brochures

The library is all on one level, which I was afraid would make it hard to find a quiet place to read, but there are many nice spots to sit down and relax. Just a few bookshelves after the Internet area where a teenage girl proclaimed loudly "I'll talk as loud as I want till they throw me out," I was already away from her loud discussions about what to put on her Myspace page. At the other end of the library there is a lovely panel of windows and a set of super comfy chairs in the Young Adult section. Mike and I looked through the YA comics, and then sat in the chairs and watched as two small boys had a race on the sidewalk outside that ended in the younger child falling, getting up and dusting himself off, and then running back to his mother.

Above the YA bookshelves are five or so awesome paintings. These were some of our favorites:

Fox Lady Painting
Jaime from Mythbusters

We've been watching a lot of Mythbusters lately, and Mike said that the last picture looked like Adam and Jaime. After giggling over the picture of Otter Jaime the Mythbuster, we walked around a bit more, picking up some books to check out and a few used books to buy. I didn't see a used book room, or a Friends of the Library store, but there were 5 tables, 2 carts, and another shelf full of books and movies. The books had great prices: 25 cents for paperbacks, 50 cents for hardcovers.

Near the DVDs, there is a quiet reading area with a very cool wood sculpture, "The Woman and the Dog" by Jaques and Mary Regat.

I especially like the bunny in the corner.

Close up of "The Woman and the Dog" by Jaques and Mary Regat

The quiet reading area looked very comfy, with windows looking out onto a small park and many cozy reading chairs.

After checking out our books and buying some used books, Mike and I went outside to see the Story Garden. There was a neat butterfly bench and a Secret Conveyer, but all of the kids were on the other side of the library in the giant field where library fun things were going on. After enjoying the quiet for a few minutes, we walked back to the library's bike racks and then pedaled off to the thrift store.

Butterfly Chair

Used books acquired:Moon Called by Andre Norton, An Exchange of Gifts by Anne McCaffrey, Under the High Seas: New Frontiers in Oceanography by Margaret Poynter and Donald Collins, Omni Best Science Fiction Three edited by Ellen Datlow, and The Sea Around Us by Rachel L. Carson.
Books checked out: The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Vogelein: Clockwork Faerie by Jane Irwin and Jeff Berndt

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