Merit Network

Willard Library Offers Fun Activities and Educational Programs to Encourage Community Involvement

Brian Warkoczeski 2008 News, News

Is a library intended for only checking out books and doing research? At the Willard Library in Battle Creek, you will find rows and rows of books and research materials, but you’ll also find a plethora of activities that enable people of all ages to express themselves, interact with an author, watch a film, and even curl up in a sleeping bag with a book.
Willard Library
The Library features seven types of programs: Children’s Storytimes, Computer Programs, Family Programs, Family History Programs, General Audience Programs, NonProfit Development Programs, and Teen Programs. Each program reaches a different segment of the community and fulfills the Library’s mission to be a resource for information, lifelong learning, and recreation.

Established in 1840 in downtown Battle Creek, Willard Library is one of the oldest libraries in Michigan. It is also one of the most innovative.

For example, on January 18, the Library hosted “Late Night at the Library,” an event that let family’s spend the evening at the library. Patrons brought sleeping bags, blankets and pillows to create a “Family Reading Area” for sharing books together. There were games, crafts, and storytelling; plus, attendees could enjoy pizza at midnight.

The Library offers Computer Programs that teach attendees computer basics and Internet skills. Users can learn about security necessities, setting up email, and how to navigate the Web safely. Willard Library has a high-speed connection to Merit Network’s backbone network, which provides users with fast access to Web resources.

Targeting Teens

In March, Teen Tech Week featured activities for 6th-12th grade students that encouraged them to use Willard Library’s many resources related to information technology, including numerous online databases, libraries, and reference collections.

Another event specifically designed for teens is the upcoming Teen Poetry Slam, which will happen on April 25. Local middle and high school students can attend a poetry workshop and submit original poetry. Selected teens will perform during the Poetry Slam before a panel of judges for a chance to win prizes.

Finding a Niche

Willard Library hosts additional programs that are designed to meet the needs of specific audiences.

In the spring and fall, the Library offers special programs for nonprofit organizations, where they can learn where to find funding, how to create a development plan, and how to submit proposals.

For people interested in genealogy, Willard Library provides classes that teach the basics of researching your family tree and how to use the Internet to find details on descendents. In February, the Library will present “Your African American Roots: A Guide to Finding Your Ancestors.”

Finally, the Library invites young children and their families to “Children’s Storytimes,” which introduce preschoolers to the Library with fun stories and playtime.

The idea that a library is only a place to find books and do research isn’t the case at the Willard Library. With a variety of imaginative programs, Willard Library provides the Battle Creek community with opportunities to increase their knowledge, have fun as a family, and share interesting experiences. A Cereal City icon would probably even say “They’re great!”

About Willard Public Library

Willard Library is located at 7 West Van Buren Street in downtown Battle Creek. It circulates over 900,000 items a year. Willard Library became a Member of Merit Network in 1999.