Check out what’s going on at Brown County Library
Celebrating National Library Week
By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
Over the next week, activities and events will take place at branches throughout the Brown County Library system in celebration of National Library Week.
The week is a celebration not only of the library, but also of the materials and services it offers and how libraries impact people’s lives.
One way the Brown County Library will celebrate National Library Week is by encouraging people to share their library stories.
Patrons of the Brown County Library are encouraged to share their stories of how the library has impacted their lives, contributing to a collection of stories which will be displayed on posters at each branch and online for all to see as an example of how the library strengthened the community.
“We really want to hear from the community about how has a library impacted your life,” Susan Lagerman, community engagement manager for the Brown County Library, said. “And what we’ve done with the stories we’ve collected so far, is we’ve turned them into big poster boards… And they’ll be displayed during National Library Week, and then what we’ll do is we’ll rotate them around our locations and then hopefully collect more and they will be on our website too.”
Lagerman said her own library story started when she was just a child.
“I grew up in Detroit and I remember going to the Detroit Public Library,” she said. “My favorite part was the smell of it — the smell of it and then the crinkle of all the plastic covers on the books. I still remember that from being a little girl. I’ve always said libraries are in my blood. I spent a lot of time in college at libraries and studying and that type of thing, but they really have come a long way since I’ve been here. I’ve seen cassette tapes go to CDs and VHS tapes to DVDs. That’s the other thing. Libraries really pivot with the times — we adapt and listen to the community.”
That love of libraries, Lagerman said, extended into adulthood and has turned into a career she loves.
“I’ve worked here for 32 years and I just think libraries are amazing places,” she said. “They offer so much. I mean, it’s more than just books. We always say that the library is more than just books. Yes, we have lots of books, but we have so many other things too. Not just physical things, but things to do — our programming for children, teens, adult programming is phenomenal. It’s a place to come and just hang out, do research, have quiet time, come with friends, enjoy a cup of coffee, browse books, browse magazines, read newspapers… I’ve always said I love my job because every day is different and libraries offer that — something different all the time. I like the variety. The people you meet at libraries are wonderful and the relationships you build with other libraries outside of the county, it’s really cool. It’s a really neat library community. You meet people, you see people at library conferences and it’s just a really nice network.”
One of the reasons Lagerman said she thinks the library community is so great is because of a shared drive to provide helpful customer service.
“Customer service is really important to us and I think you find that library people are nice people because we want to help,” she said. “There’s just that intrinsic need, like we want to help you do whatever it is, whether you need help with a resume, help finding a job, help looking something up in the catalog, that type of thing.”
Lagerman said that aside from books and material items patrons can check out, the Brown County Library also offers a variety of other helpful services many people may not know they could be utilizing.
“We have free internet — free high speed internet Wi-Fi,” she said. “We have a career navigator that comes in to help people with job searching which I think is a really important and valuable service. We have delivery to senior living places, so we take collections of books to folks that maybe can’t get out or aren’t as mobile as they used to be. You can always use our reference department if you don’t know what to read next — we’re here to do that. Or even for people that need help in serious social situations, we can refer or connect people. I think libraries are great connectors. If we don’t know the answer, we can usually find the answer.”
One obstacle which sometimes stands in the way of people accessing all of the services the library has to offer, Lagerman said, is the stigma of fines and overdue materials.
During National Library Week, the library will observe a sort of amnesty week with all overdue materials returned between April 23-29 being waived.
“We have fines on our materials if you don’t return them or if you lose them, but we sometimes feel that’s a barrier for people coming to the library,” she said. “So if you have overdue fines and you want to come to the library but feel sheepish about it because you owe something, this is what amnesty week does. It erases those debts and it’s like ‘just bring the books back, we want you back in the library.’ We all make mistakes. We all get fines — even library employees get fines. But amnesty week is a chance to bring back what you have checked out and have those fines wiped away. It’s just kind of a nice gesture… [Fees] are kind of necessary for us, but we don’t want people to be afraid to come back just because they have a fine and feel embarrassed about it.”
In addition to fine forgiveness, the Brown County Library will also host a series of open houses, presentations and classes as part of its National Library Week celebration.
More information about Brown County Library and National Library Week can be found at browncountylibrary.org.
To share your own library story, visit browncountylibrary.org/library-stories.
National Library Week events:
Monday, April 24
• Ashwaubenon Branch Open House, Ashwaubenon Branch, 2-6 p.m.
• Using the Library is a Piece of Cake, Wrightstown Branch, 3-6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25
• Teen Intro to Dungeons and Dragons, Central Branch, 4-5 p.m.
• There’s More to the Story Librarians from Brown County’s Past, Central Branch, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 26
• More Than Books, Pulaski Branch, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
• Let There Be Cake, Weyers-Hilliard Family Branch, 3-6 p.m.
Friday, April 28
• East Branch Open House, East Branch, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, April 29
• Southwest Branch Open House, Southwest Branch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
• Drawing Book and Game Characters, Central Branch, 1-2 p.m.
• How to Spot Fake News, Kress Family Branch, 1-2 p.m.