Happy National Library Lovers Month! Today’s libraries are so much more than a place to check out a book. They offer a variety of community programs for all ages, and patrons can download audiobooks, check out games and electronic bikes, and much more.
We checked in with area librarians to discover what they or their patrons love most about their libraries.
Says Elizabeth Timmins, Library Director and Programmer at Muehl Public Library in Seymour, “People may be surprised to know we have two female Guinea pigs named Fable and Rolo at our library. Patrons of all ages enjoy them.”
The window art in the photo above was done by local artist Kaylyn Davis.
“Public libraries are about so much more than open access to books.
Kimberly Public Library is a gathering space for our community where everyone is welcome regardless of income or experience. We offer programs that help make connections in our community.”
— Tracy Haack, Adult Services Librarian, Kimberly Public Library.
“As a child, I visited my hometown library each week and remember the wonder and excitement of exploring what was on the shelves. The library was a portal to the world outside my experience and geographical location.”
— Jill Van Den Eng, library assistant II, Kimberly Public Library
Says Katherine Freund, Director, Little Chute Library: “The Little Chute Library has so much more to check out than just books! There are tons of arts and crafts equipment, kitchen gadgets, telescopes, microscopes, e-bikes, puzzle tables . . . tons. Check out this TikTok highlighting our crafting tool collection:”
“Also, a patron named Edward recently left this Google review comment: ‘I don’t know if it’s this library system as a whole, but this particular library in Little Chute has EVERYTHING. I’m never disappointed.’”
Appleton Public Library librarians shared their thoughts:
“I love that libraries are the great equalizer in our society. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how much money you have or what you believe in, when you step into the library, you will be greeted with a smile and have the same access to services as anyone else. Best of all, it is free! Whether you are trying to entertain your children, research for a school assignment, start a business, or just check your email, the library can help you with that.” – Teresa Smith, Early Literacy Librarian
“Libraries were my savior as a child. They gave me hope and provided an incredible sense of wonder. There was so much knowledge and so many experiences right on the shelf for me to explore – plus some really cool librarians.
“I spent a ridiculous amount of time sitting on bean bag chairs, listening to the finches chirp. Yes, my library had finches. I felt like I read every single book in that children’s section, from Harriet the Spy to Egyptian History to books on how to bake bread. I could learn anything I wanted. As I got older, it was awesome to see that wonder available for my own kids. I found that you can hit the 100 book checkout limit with a library card when you homeschool four kids!” – Melanie Kearn, Adult Services and Engagement Librarian
“We offer a variety of programs at the Appleton Public Library for the Hispanics in our community — bilingual storyline, Celebrate Hispanic Heritage, a Spanish Science Camp in the summer, and a Multicultural Club.
“At the APL, we have the support to create a safe space for families where they can read, think and create. For the library, I do an Appleton Ready to Read (ARTR) program where we do home visits, a library visit, and a play day.”
— Norma Nanette Oliveras, Hispanic Outreach Specialist, Appleton Public Library
“Like all public libraries, we play a vital role in our community by providing collections, services, resources and programming not readily available elsewhere. Here are some of the programs and services that make us special:
- We offer Wild Child Story Time – meeting families in local nature areas for a story and a nature walk.
- We partner with the school district and Chartwells to provide free daily lunches to children in June and July.
- We carry Thematic Play Literacy kits that can be used in the library including for use in our Stay and Play Time, which provided a safe space for family ‘bubbles’ during the pandemic.
- We host a twice-yearly Speed Puzzling Tournament with 40-plus teams competing.
- We hold a monthlyShort Story Night at a local brew pub and invite authors to discuss their work via zoom.
- We have a dedicated Ukulele Open Jam, which has been meeting weekly at the library for six-plus years.
- We bring our Book Bike and trailer out into the community throughout the summer months – to bring books to parks, social events and apartment complexes.”
— Gretchen Raab, director, Neenah Public Library