Monday, June 15, 2015

The Library of the Month: Waupaca Area Public Library

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

The Waupaca Area Public Library provides innovative programs and activities for every chapter of your life!

Computers and Internet Access
Waupaca Area Public Library
Image from Waupaca Area Public Library

Public computer stations are incredibly busy at the library. For many library users, having internet access at home is cost prohibitive. So having computers and internet available to the public provides the necessary access to live in the digital age. Also, if library users have a smartphone, like 75% of cellular users do (and forecasted to be 80% by the end of 2015), they can augment their data plan by using the library’s free wi-fi.

Library users can book a study room, use their cell phone, and use the internet. In this way, the library acts as a hub for small business and some patrons essentially run their businesses from the library. Patrons can use the library’s computers to write and print resumes, do job searches, file taxes, and conduct online investing. Job applications are largely online and so are government forms and instructions and the library’s computers are essential for the community.

A big project last summer was to increase bandwidth at the library to 10Mbps. Internet usage is high in the library and the library will probably need to double bandwidth again in order to have consistent headroom during peak usage this summer.

Summer Library Program

The library’s regular Summer Reading Program has been replaced with library programming that lasts all year long. The library has refocused how money is spent to support programming and in support of their mission to create life-long learners; the only prizes are books. Kids get excited about reading books and getting books as prizes and that’s the clear goal.

Youth Services

There is always something going on in the Teen Room, planned or otherwise. Because Minecraft is so huge right now, the library wanted to provide access to kids who want to play, but may not be able to afford a full-fledged Minecraft account. The Friends of the Library paid for MinecraftEdu for 12 computers that can be used by patrons while they are at the library. Minecraft is a game but also teaches cooperation, teamwork, and social skills while enhancing reading, writing, math, information technology skills. Teens just think that Minecraft is fun, without putting much thought into what skills they’re learning. The next project is to build and setup a Minecraft server, which will roll it out this summer.

Book to Art Club
Image from Waupaca Area Public Library

Adult Programming

In the early spring of 2015 a seed library opened. Gardeners are encouraged to borrow seeds, grow plants, and collect seed to return to the Library. The Seed Library was introduced with several programs that helped people know how and why to save seeds. At the kickoff of the program, the library hosted a Makerspace in the Lobby on a Saturday where we helped participants plant a few seeds.

The library supports 12 area book clubs for adults! Two new book clubs premiered this year: Book to Art & Cook Book Club. The Book to Art Club meets monthly on a Saturday for a Makerspace-like program with art projects based on the book of the month. In May, participants were encouraged to read, "The Book of Stories" and created altered book art. The Cook Book Club meets monthly on a Thursday evening. Each month there is a different theme. (example: Picnic & Potluck Foods). There is a display of cookbooks to choose from and participants bring a dish to pass and the book where they found the recipe.


Written by:
Kara Ripley, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning