Food trucks, pomegranate arils, Ugg boots and cupcakes were some of the hip things I used to capture audience attention during a trend-tracking presentation I gave at the National Pension Education Association’s October 2012 conference. But I hope what they remembered was an imaginative local QR code campaign I shared as an example of a trendy information resource to use for improving services and increasing value to community members.
When the Delaware County District Library opened its new Orange Branch library in May 2011, it introduced the branch’s staff to the community with a clever blend of QR codes, photography and video. QR codes – those barcodes that you can scan with a smart phone to discover additional information – were incorporated into five scrapbook page-style posters featuring the library’s director, branch manager, and branch librarians. Scanning the QR code linked viewers to a video on the library’s YouTube channel, in which each featured staff member talked about where he or she had worked before, their favorite book character, and what they loved about the building.
Now that I’ve finally visited the Orange Branch, I can see that there’s a lot to love about this special place.
Located in Delaware County’s Orange Township, just off U.S. Route 23, the Orange Branch was intended to be a place where community members of all ages could gather.
The building is constructed of Northern Ohio blue vein stone, hand-shaped by masons on site to recall the limestone bluffs along the nearby Olentangy River. Its distinctive angular roof leads to a cantilevered rain scupper and chain system where stormwater runoff is collected in bio-retention basins.
Projecting stone and glass bay windows provide an abundance of natural light, as well as views of the surrounding natural setting. Structural purlins, a custom horizontal slat wall system, display cases and furniture are all made of wood from Douglas fir trees harvested in northern Washington state.
Highlights of the library’s award-winning design include glass-enclosed quiet study rooms and a place just for young adults that features a glass garage door. Other features include a meeting room, a children’s area with a dedicated storytelling room and a café.
Outside, picnic tables invite visitors to spend time in the Imagination Garden, which features mythological creatures in large-scale art pieces created by local artists.
Mythology – or – On the Origin of Stories was installed in June 2013. Dale Johnson based the border detail and the binding structure of this limestone work on a 1938 Harvard Classics edition of Elizabethan drama that contains plays by Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. On the front, spot Cyclops, a sea monster, an alien from outer space, a Mongolian death worm, Cerberus, forest spirits and leprechauns. On the back, see the man in the moon, Cerberus, Dionysus, a banshee, and Arthur’s gloved arm pulling Excalibur from the stone to release Ulysses.
Mosaic Dragon is an accordion-like structure of cement panels created by Delaware Mosaics. Volunteers helped to clean, polish and glue pieces of tiles, dishes and mirrors to create the mosaic. It was just installed in July.
The building itself might draw you to visit, but library staff keep you coming back for more.
Take home a copy of the directions to make your own Mason jar pumpkin luminary, on display throughout the library. Bring your family and play Monopoly on September 26 at 2:00 p.m. Encourage your teenager to attend Star Wars Reads Day on October 10 at 2:00 p.m.
The Orange Chess Club meets every other Sunday to introduce students to chess and provide them with basic instruction in the game. An adult writers’ group meets at 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of every month. Once a month, children ages four through 11 are invited for stories and yoga.
A Star for Mrs. Blake, The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Bird Box and Mr. Mercedes are the featured titles for upcoming monthly book discussions taking place at the Orange Branch on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. As part of the DelawaREADS program, the Orange Branch will be hosting a discussion of The Book of Unknown Americans on September 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Here’s one final tip. New German Cooking: Recipes for Classics Revisited, by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen, is the subject of the next meeting of the Orange Branch Cookbook Club on October 14 at 7:00 p.m. If you go, I recommend making the recipe for Potato and Sauerkraut Gratin on page 157.