On October 29, the American Library Association kicked off its “Libraries Transform Lives” campaign to make known the value of libraries to the communities they serve. In Reedsburg, we have been aware of the transformative and beneficial nature of the library since the Reedsburg Public Library opened its doors in 1899. The cost of a hardcover book at that time may have been a couple of dollars, a prohibitive cost in a time when a worker’s daily wage was about the same amount. Clearly the city welcomed the free library for both educational and recreational purposes.
Today the value of the library can be calculated not only in terms of the cost of items that individuals do not have to purchase for themselves, but also in the opportunities the library provides. Story hours, programs such as “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten,” and the After School Book Club can give children the early advantage in reading that will last a lifetime. Educational programs and visits by authors offer free, informative and fun opportunities for people of all ages.
Today the public library is not only a cost effective resource for borrowing materials, but also for the use of technology. Internet use is now commonplace and job applications frequently must be completed online, yet only one in four households have an Internet connection. At the Reedsburg Public Library, twenty public use computers are available as well as laptops, and WIFI. A new “AWE” computer workstation in the Children’s area, purchased with funds from the library’s Friends group, will allow children to try out educational games they may not have access to at home.
Libraries may transform lives, but the role of libraries is also transforming. In today’s information explosion, library users increasingly want help in accessing information through the use of computers and mobile devices. Staff members at the Reedsburg Public Library are available, by appointment, for basic instruction on the use of the computer, setting up e-mail accounts, doing online research, or downloading online books to mobile devices.
Our programs this month are set to transform, with a crafting project, remembrance of Reedsburg’s past and a computer class. On Saturday, November 14 at 10:00 a.m., the library will welcome Terri Nee-Holtz of Madison College to present a program on Google searching and features. There is no fee for this program and no registration is required. From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. you can join us for our Crafternoon program, “The Joy of Socks: Knitting in the Round”. On November 21st, Pastor David Glesne will present a program about the history of Reedsburg’s Woolen Mill. For questions about these, or any of the library’s “transformative’ programs, please contact the library at 768-READ (7323).