Juneau Public Library is a hop, skip, and a jump from the cruise ship dock, situated on the top floor of the parkade. This delightful library can be easily missed by tourists distracted by the delicious smells of Tracy's Crab Shack and the promise of free charm bracelets from local merchants.
When the doors of the elevator slide open, you are greeted by a beautiful stain glass window of spawning salmon. Juneau Public Library was founded in 1966, and has been lovingly cared for over the years.
On a sunny Thursday early evening, the library is gently humming with patrons and cheerful circulation staff. Displays of back-to-school books and summer reading programs and contests line the airy, glass-windowed hallway. The library has lots of natural light from large windows that offer cozy reading chairs and window benches for reading.
As always, I'm drawn to the children's section which is interestingly "roped off" by a bank-style retractable rope. The librarians have a fabulous sense of humour as indicated by the rope's explanation:
The children's section has its own circulation desk and a small bank of computers for catalogue and internet use by children. The section is easily viewed through the glass wall by the main circulation desk and the watchful eye of the librarians. A beautiful mural adorns a comfy corner where kids can curl up in the embrace of a huge stuffed animal and read a good book. Salmon lanterns, paper crane installations, and colourful hot air balloons hang from the ceiling above the stacks.
The shelves are at a great height for kids, with picture books displayed in "grocery-store-like" bins which make it easy to flip through the books. The collection made me smile. It is by no means outdated: a fabulous selection of worn and loved books amongst brand new bestsellers.
I was especially intrigued by the games section. Juneau Public Library has an extensive collection of board games available for check out. While the library has many tables and books for playing, it allows patrons to check out 2 games per card for 2 weeks at a time. The staff has cleverly repurposed VHS cases to create a display for the games that are available. Patrons can choose a game based on the description on the VHS case: a picture of the game, estimated time needed to play, general description and recommended age level. The cases are presented at the circulation desk, scanned, and exchanged for the actual game board and pieces.
The displays and helpful pamphlets do a great job of advertising the game collection.
So, if you have extra time at port, check out this little library, its beautiful staff, and maybe, just maybe, play a round of Quirkle!