Today, I went up to the Darien Public Library in Darien, Connecticut on a roadtrip. I had been invited by my fellow 2010 Mover & Shaker Gretchen Caserotti to come up and see the library (and when you throw in lunch, well, I’m no fool). I got the full-on tour of the place from the study rooms on the top floor to the fabled materials management system on the bottom floor.

The word that I would use to describe this library is ‘intimate’; I mean it in the warm, cozy sense. There was something about the arrangement of the rooms and spaces that made it feel like whatever I was looking for was nearby or a place to sit was close at hand. That each room was the place to be. (I might not be conveying the feeling very well, but it’s one of those nuances that may not translate this time around.)

I will say that there is a great pleasure in visiting other libraries. Mainly, I like to steal their ideas. And by steal, I mean gloriously rip off and use at my own library to my own great delight. Although, if I was a better thief, perhaps I wouldn’t given attribution to the people I had stolen from when asked about things I’ve used; perhaps I’m more of a Creative Commons style of bandit. I left Darien with some ideas for my own library and I’m looking forward to giving them a go at my own library.

I’d like to thank the Darien staff for their time and hospitality; I’d especially like to thank Louise, Alan, John, Sally, and Alex for an afternoon of library conversations that touched on just about everything. And, last but not least, to Gretchen for her generous invitation that brought me from southern New Jersey to that part of Connecticut that I used to skip by taking the Merritt Parkway.

In exchange for the tour and lunch, I brought a tray of home made chocolate chip cookies. Based on my experiences today, I think this might be an excellent way to get more invitations to tour other libraries. So, I’ll make this offer:

You invite me to your library and if I come I will bring you cookies (chocolate chip, from scratch).


Yep. Those can be yours.

Once again, thanks to Gretchen and the Darien staff for a great day.

9 thoughts on “Roadtrip!

  1. Hey Andy, thanks for the wonderful comments. You’re welcome back any time, with or without cookies (although they were the high point of the lunch!) If you’re interested in making the subject signs, let me know and I’ll give you the eco-friendly instructions. You get a big return on just a little effort, my favorite kind of project. Add volunteers to the mix and it couldn’t get any easier.

    • Excellent! I was talking with our children’s librarian today about the signs. Even if we are still on Dewey, I think it would go a LONG ways to helping kids and teens browse. I think the words could work as curiosity triggers as well.

      I’ll be emailing you shortly about those directions!

  2. We love having visitors, especially those who bring interesting and challenging ideas to the conversation. and cookies. My turn to come visit you!

    • Yes, please do! Bordentown is a lovely little town as well. It has that old town feel to it for me, even more so when I learned about the history.

      I eventually will get around to emailing you. I’ve been thinking about the text message notifications thing you were wrestling with. I have a couple thoughts on that.

    • Cookies are part of the deal, of course. And yes, I would like to see a hospital library. I find how people manage their libraries and arrange them to be very interesting. It’s all about the context for me.

  3. I am so jealous of your visit–I’d love to get over to the Darien Library. I, however, am in Iowa, which is a bit of a drive.

    But, I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit the West Des Moines library if you ever find yourself in the Midwest. We’d love to show you around!

  4. Pingback: Weekly Digest: April 16-April 22 « Agnostic, Maybe

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