Saturday, November 04, 2006

Library Review

On Friday, I had to drive to Loveland so I stopped by two of the local libraries. Of the 41 branch libraries, I've checked out books from the following ten:

Mt. Washington: Growing up in the suburban neighborhood of Mt. Washington, this was the only library I knew. Today, after seeing some of the bigger branches, it seems cramped with a terrible parking lot but it has a decent selection of books. The librarians sensibly store media-driven children's books (Scooby Doo, Powerpuff Girls, Dora, etc.) under the children's videos, meaning I don't have to root through the stacks to find McCann, Barbo, or whoever else writes the Scooby series. This cuts Devilgirl-related whining to a fraction.
I don't know how long this will last (it might be gone already) but the librarians keep two aquatic frogs in an aquarium to give kids something to torment. Devilgirl calls the Mt. Washington branch "the Frog Library."

Anderson: When it was first built, the Anderson branch looked big but with a lot of wasted space. Today expansions have bulked it up with a much better selection of books and the most DVDs and media products outside the main library (at least by my gauge).

Hyde Park: I remember going to the Hyde Park branch as a kid and not thinking much of it. Today, they've done a lot with the building (or my memory is just lousy). Although it's fairly small, they make the most of the space with children's books on the first floor and adults' on the second. Near the stairs is a large koi pond. Devilgirl calls this "the Fish Library."

Clifton: I lived in Clifton for eight years before stepping foot in the library. It was essentially a converted store front, next to a barber shop and hardware store. For the neighborhood, with quick access to the main library and with many residents able to use the UC library system, I guess it serves its purpose but overall it's less than impressive.

Oakley: I'd driven by the Oakley branch hundreds of times before actually stopping. It's large with a good children's section but seems like it has a lot of wasted space. For some reason I found more Chthulu books here than any other branch.

Mariemont: Only took the kids there once but it seemed roomy with plenty of kids' material. It's next to the Mariemont High School which looks to be good planning.

Maderia: I don't think I'd ever been to Maderia before I took all three kids to the branch library. The set-up was very similar to Mariemont but the children's section was more elaborate with a special area for story-time reading. A good selection but short on mythology and heavy on Christian "how-to" books. I don't know if pagan-loving residents checked out all the mythology books before I got there, but, while there were many books overall, the subject matter seemed selective. Devil-step-daughter lost her library card there, somewhere in the stacks.

Corryville: I lived in Clifton for over ten years but never went to the Corryville branch until recently when I was driving home from cleaning out the contents of the latest car my wife wrecked. The building looks wonderful from the outside but more space is devoted to meeting rooms and activities than books. Again, for the neighborhood--right across from UC--that's probably appropriate but was a little bit of a let-down.

Loveland: Driving to the Loveland branch, I went by huge churches, McMansions, a skating rink made out to look like a castle, and all sort of other substantial edifices. So where is the library? In a strip mall.
They make the most of the space available but it comes off as more used book store than a library. The most positive thing is that the Loveland Elementary is across the street and while I was there, a class came over for a reading and to check out books.

Symmes: The Symmes branch is also next to the local elementary but the building is actually a stand-alone structure. It's not the biggest branch library but the architectural is probably the most flamboyant. Good selection but a strange layout. I found a book of Persian mythology that I've never seen before.

Why haven't I been to the Madisonville branch? I just haven't had a reason to go to Madisonville. Unless something unexpected crops up, that's the next branch I'd like to check out.

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