Thursday, April 14, 2016

Library of the Month: Oak Creek Public Library

The Oak Creek Public Library is April’s Library of the Month! The community in Oak Creek has been enjoying a new library building since October 19, 2015, when the building opened its doors to the public. It was designed by Bray Architects and built by Corporate Contractors Incorporated. Library director Jill Lininger reports that there was no tax increase to help fund the building, as it was paid for by segregated funds.  The new library shares a building with the Oak Creek City Hall, and this building itself is called the Oak Creek Civic Center.

Oak Creek Civic Center
Oak Creek Civic Center
Photo courtesy of Jill Lininger
The new building offers nearly three times the library space of the former building, increasing from 14,800 to 41,847 square feet. The library now shares a multipurpose room with City Hall and has its own story time room, which is left open to the public when not in use for programs.  The children’s staff rotates between setting out Legos, board games, and crafts, and showing movies each day during the week.  Patrons are welcome to enjoy this passive program whenever they visit the library. The children’s department now has public internet computers, and four “tutor rooms” for students to use for group projects, homework, or quiet reading time. The adult department also has seven dedicated study rooms of varying sizes which have been extremely popular with patrons so far.  Among many other new features and highlights, a community favorite is the new quiet reading room, with its gas fireplace, comfortable seating, and windows overlooking the Oak Creek Town Square.

Quiet Reading Room
Quiet Reading Room
Photo courtesy of Jill Lininger
The Oak Creek Recreation Department is now co-located at the library, and is in the process of moving several of recreation programs into the building.  This symbiotic relationship is working very well to cross-promote the services of both the library and the recreation department. This arrangement also provides both departments with a little more staff to help out during staff shortages, as all employees are in the process of being cross trained to assist in the other department. One example of a current collaboration between the library and the recreation department is the “Gaming Room” which has a Wii and Xbox.  Patrons can check out controllers and games to play in the room, and the recreation department is already using the room for their Wii bowling league.

Children's Area
Children's Area
Photo Courtesy of Jill Lininger
While the building has been in use since October, it is not yet completely finished.  The library is waiting for a signature art piece which is currently in production for the children’s department. Funding is also currently being raised for a Makerspace/Digital Media Lab.  A room was built for the Media Lab, but funding fell short, so it is currently sitting empty.  A local Boy Scout is also working with the library on his Eagle Scout project and is in the process of raising funds to install a giant “Lite Bright” or illuminated peg board and a 65” interactive iPad for the children’s department.

View into the library from City Hall
View into the Library from City Hall
Photo Courtesy of Jill Lininger
The Oak Creek Public Library is a short drive down the interstate from the Potawatomi Hotel, location of the 2016 WLA conference.  Director Jill Lininger encourages attendees to check out the new library, saying “we’d love to have people come and visit us!” Congratulations on the new library, and all that the building and staff are doing for the community of Oak Creek!

Written by:
Gail Murray, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning
Jill Lininger, Director of the Oak Creek Public Library