A wing of their own

MARSHALL – These days children’s librarian Mary Beth Sinclair can hardly keep children’s attention on reading if there is cool construction activity going on behind the window.

Fork lifts and excavators are being used to create the structure of the new children’s wing to the Marshall-Lyon County Library, and library personnel and foundation board members were deciding what’s going to go inside the new space.

Karen Mutschelknaus, a senior interior designer at TSP, an architecture firm out of Sioux Falls, S.D., gave a PowerPoint presentation Tuesday afternoon in the library board room, along with Michelle Holter, an architect from TSP, and local architect Ron Halgerson, who is the project manager. Phyllis Carr, who, along with her husband, Robert Carr, is a major contributor of the building project, sat in on the meeting as well.

Mutschelknaus showed two options as far as color schemes and decor for library personnel and board members to choose from – an underwater theme, highlighting Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes, and an outdoorsy theme.

The centerpiece of both options is a large curvy seating area for younger children to read on. The two-tiered lounge is low to the ground.

“I like being able to see over it,” said Sinclair, who is on vacation this week but came in to take part in the decision-making process.

The designer suggested linoleum around the seating area, with carpet surrounding it, but the library group preferred carpet surrounding the seating area instead of linoleum for safety reasons. Mutschelknaus said different patterns of carpet can still be used to highlight the seating.

The library group also mentioned carpet is better for keeping noise down and so only one cleaning method needs to be used instead of having to both vacuum and mop the floor.

Older children, or “tweens,” will have a more prominent area in the new space than they do now. They will have a long window seat with comfy pillows. Books geared toward children in the upper elementary grades through the seventh grade will be found on shelves in the area.

The ceiling will be a light blue, and the walls will be a neutral color. The color palette for the new children’s wing will blend in with the existing library, but with the children’s department, “you can play it up a little bit,” said Mutschelknaus. “The fabric is where you can really bring in some pops of color.”

Another area for a “pop of color” will be Sinclair’s circulation desk – it was decided that it will be magenta. The front of the desk will look like books stacked on one another and have a protective Polyurethane coating.

Mutschelknaus showed a depiction of the children’s wing entrance which features large replicas of children’s books for a “fun, whimsical” look.

“That’s cute,” said Carr.

Besides completing the children’s wing, the building project will add features for teens and adults, such as new reading and study areas and space for special library collections, such as the Minnesota Room featuring authors from around the state.