Are you a person that loves sharing news? Random knowledge that seems unlikely at first glance, but turns out to be as true as true can be? If you’re not, don’t worry, this post is still for you. But if you are someone that loves spreading joy, read on with mounting enthusiasm. In case you didn’t guess, I love sharing information, especially something that’s library-related, and I become positively gleeful when I get to share exciting tidbits with my friends, my family, and even unsuspecting strangers.*
A completely normal example:
As I order a coffee from an unsuspecting barista, “Light roast, please. And did you know the library has banjos and ukuleles for check-out?”
“Really? That’s so cool!” exclaims the barista.
“Isn’t it?! Now you have no excuse not to learn Dueling Banjos to impress your friends. I’ll learn with you! Banjo Buddies!”
After an uncomfortable pause, “Uhh, yeah, that could be fun. Here’s your coffee?”
Social awkwardness aside, “did you know the library has…” is one of my favorite phrases. It’s not that I like being a know-it-all (although there is something to that). Rather, it’s that sharing good news tends to create positive experiences, and the modern library is filled with rich potential for good news.
So often, perceptions of public libraries are stuck in the past. They have old books. They shush me. There’s nothing fun to do there. But little do people know that the library provides access to a broad variety of materials, programs, and spaces for people of all kinds.
So without further ado, here are my top three favorite “did you know the library…” phrases.
Did you know that our library has so much more than just books?
The library has a variety of fun kits for check out. There are maker kits, including items such as ukuleles, GoPro cameras, sewing machines, and lefse making equipment (and yes, BANJOS). Check out current offerings here! Further, there are storytelling kits in nifty wheeled coolers (because reading makers you cooler), which are filled with books, games, toys, puppets, and other educational tools. Themes include Dino-Mania, What’s So Funny?, and Transportation. See a listing of all twenty kits here. Maker kits and story kits are available to check out for 28 days at a go, so you will have ample time to experience all the joy.
The library also offers nature, babysitting, and STEAM backpacks to check out. Going on a nature walk? Check out a nature backpack! The items change seasonally and include binoculars, books, and other tools. Backpacks are listed on the MORE catalog here.
You know the library has print books, but did you know that it provides free access to eBooks, electronic audiobooks, streaming movies, and digital music? To learn more, read Susan’s recent informative post here.
Did you know that our library has fun events for all ages?
The library has become an event destination for its community members. The Youth Services area alone offers storytime six days a week, LEGO club twice a month, a monthly teen anime and manga club, and a monthly teen book club. Not to mention special events, such as February’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar Celebration that will feature storytimes, activities, and crafts. The BookBike will even make a special appearance at the Pablo Center before their performance of Eric Carle’s classic story. School breaks are great times to check out library events, as there is always a variety of awesome activities to help kids and teens pass the time. Keep an eye out for spring break events, as March is just around the corner.
Not to leave adults out, the public library hosts monthly programming to enrich your mind and feed your creativity, including author programs, writing groups, book clubs, arts and craft workshops, and even technology help. In February, be sure to check out On the Way to the Melting Pot, which will feature True Vue discussing Hmong culture and community. Don’t miss the Diversity Challenge, too, a year-long reading program to help diversify your reading. See all events here.
Did you know that our library provides great spaces to learn, play, and create?
You know that the library has computer stations, study tables, and access to a huge collection of print material. But, wait, there’s more!
The Dabble Box makerspace opened its doors in January 2017, and it has welcomed thousands of visitors each year. What’s the Dabble Box, you ask? It’s a space in the library where you can explore, play, and make with other community members. The makerspace has laptops, a 3D printer, sewing machines, robots, arts and crafts supplies, fabric, yarn, a mug printing press, a vinyl cutter, and so much more. The Dabble Box is completely free to use, has regular weekly hours and events, and a staff member is always present to help get you started and troubleshoot. See more about the Dabble Box equipment and hours here.
If you’re feeling like you need some inspiration, stop by the library’s art gallery to experience rotating art collections from truly talented individuals. Don’t miss Wisconsin ArtsWest, the juried art exhibition sponsored by the library, which happens every year. It’s a wonderful way to find out about different artists and broaden your creative horizons.
Whether it’s a no-school day or just a dad-needs-to-get-out-of-the-house day, the Youth Services area always has spaces and activities to keep everyone occupied. The Play & Learn early literacy play area regularly rotates its theme, toys, and games to keep it fresh and exciting for littles. Educational games are available on iPads and computers, no library card required. There is often an all-ages scavenger hunt, try-it craft tray, board games, and other drop-in activities. Be sure to ask a friendly librarian what there is to do in the Youth Services area that day.
Don’t forget the tiny library on wheels, the BookBike that brings the library space to YOU. It visits the Farmers Market, special school family nights, the Pablo Center, Sounds Like Summer concerts, and more. All year long! The BookBike has books, sure, but it also wheels out fun activities into the community. Watch for the little yellow book trailer, because you never know what goodies it has in store.
I clearly could go on and on sharing library information, but you’re not looking to read a book on the subject (or if you are, you know where to look). So go forth and share this news, gleefully. Aren’t you just itching to say, “Guess what I just found out?”
And be sure to let me know if you’d like to be Banjo Buddies.
*The weird looks usually only last a few seconds. Okay maybe more than a few, but the glee!