Located at the picturesque base of Mt. Shasta, the Mount Shasta Branch library has a long and varied history: before the completion of the library’s current building, the collection was housed on the second floor of the old City Hall and even at the Mount Shasta Community Hospital!
The library is small but packed with homey touches including: living room style couches and recliners, homemade quilts, awesome tables from the 1970’s, and old-school library signage. Combined, these make the library seem more like the common room in a liberal arts college dorm than a government institution. The ambiance is welcoming and reflects the hippie, artsy, small town character of the city.
While finding a comfortable place to sit and read is easy at the Mount Shasta Branch Library, finding a book seemed as though it might be slightly more challenging. The library appeared to have a good selection of local authors, audio books, and youth materials but when browsing through the collection, I noticed several copies of the same book completely different shelves. I could not discern any reason for this strange arrangement and was left to assume that it was most likely the inevitable result of a small staff trying to stay on top of busy branch (the library was bustling!)
Despite its small size, I noticed the library using several tricks to maximize their services. Since they had limited shelving on which to display new titles, the library staff kept may of the new books behind the desk. To alert patrons of to these additional materials, they placed laminated guides that included pictures of each new title as well as short descriptions on the shelves. While this system does raise privacy and confidentiality issues, I thought it was an interesting way to attempt to provide access to a wider variety of materials than space would seem to allow.
The library also partners with the Siskiyou Art Bus Project. In addition to providing arts and crafts courses, the bus is parked next to the library on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and is a place where youth can engage in after school art and craft activities. I thought the bus was a neat alternative for small libraries who are nonetheless interested in introducing some type of maker space for patrons.
Next time you find yourself on a pilgrimage to ‘White Mountain’ (as Mt. Shasta is sometimes called), take a moment to stop by the Mount Shasta Branch of the Siskiyou County Library System. For more information, visit their website: http://www.snowcrest.net/siskiyoulibrary/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10&Itemid=31