The public library has been a magical place for me ever since I was a child. Having worked in one for almost 17 years, it hasn’t lost that magic. In fact, I’m amazed year after year at what libraries and librarians do within their community. If you haven’t been to the library in a while, it’s my pleasure to reintroduce you and welcome you back. Libraries have always been your free source for books, but the magic stretches beyond the pages and into so many other nooks and crannies of our lives. Bear with me as I share some of the magic found at Brownsburg Public Library.
When you walk through the sliding glass doors, the first thing you might notice is our clean design and open space. We wrapped up a major renovation in 2019 and the newly reconfigured building was designed especially with you in mind. We offer nine study rooms and five meeting rooms in our east wing – plus two more in our Children’s Department. It wouldn’t be a library without comfy seating and individual study pods sprinkled throughout, and we have you covered there too. Throw in our Wi-Fi and we’ve created a destination where you can work or study to your heart’s content. We also introduced new Teen and Tween zones that feature fun design, doors, and vertical “word” barriers to delineate the space. In addition, we updated our Computer Lab with new machines and copiers available to print and fax. We also have laptops available for in-house use, and plan to purchase additional laptops this year to pair with mobile hotspots for use outside the building. These are just the basics. Within our walls we have some other unique places and services waiting for you to explore.
Now, it feels a little silly to talk about our collection. Everyone knows about the books – nothing unique there. However, there are some factors to know about to help you navigate our collection more easily, and a few surprises too (hint: we’re not all about just books). In January we were pleased to share our new catalog for searching materials. This single-search solution (say that three times fast) brings back all formats in a single result. In addition, you can check out the aforementioned eBooks and eAudio within our catalog.
As for the surprises alluded to above, we circulate a myriad of items in our collection. Some of the unique items you can take home include binge boxes (a handful of movies and free popcorn), literacy kits, mobile hotspots, Roku players (featuring all the movies we’ve purchased that have digital codes), and even a kit in partnership with Special Olympics Indiana that encourages physical activity. Any of these items can be reserved using our catalog, and picked up in-house or by using our curbside service (that’s right, we’ll bring your items to you). For curbside pickup, call 317-852-3167 and choose option 7.
Our Library Shop isn’t new, but it has been reconfigured and redesigned as well. Operating as a used bookstore from January to November, the Library Shop offers gently used books at bargain basement prices. During the month of December, the shop is transformed into the Holiday Shop and features new and gently used home decor, books, ornaments and more.
Our Children’s Department is a can’t-miss destination for families. Located at the west end of our building, this walled-off area welcomes kids of all ages. Little ones can pretend to be a librarian or a mail carrier at our Imagination Station. Kids can also enjoy our recently added kinetic art installation, the Everbright. The Everbright was brought to us through a funding gift from Thomas A. Kays and is similar to a giant Lite Brite. Kids can twist and turn the knobs to create and feature their art for all to see. Also located in the children’s area are iPads loaded with educational games, and three Early Literacy Stations, also loaded with lots of learning fun. We can’t talk about our Children’s Department without mentioning the great programming offered for ages 0 to 10. We regularly offer Itty Bitty and Preschool programs as well as Lego Club, Paws & Think, and a variety of other fun events geared toward our older kids. Programs are offered both in person and virtually. We’ve also created take-and-make activities to keep our families busy at home.
Through the past few years we’ve expanded beyond our four walls, and have started utilizing our property for additional space. In the summer months our gazebo and picnic tables are a great place to meet and eat, or attend an outdoor program. We also added a quarter-mile walking path around the building (again, courtesy of Thomas A. Kays), and have plans to add a StoryWalk around this path. We already have a StoryWalk in partnership with Brownsburg Parks, located in Arbuckle Acres Park. In April we will add a solar workstation. The workstation will allow those who’d like to work outside to have a shaded space with charging and power capabilities, and connection to our wireless network. The solar workstation was made possible in part by Duke Energy and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library.
We’ve covered our indoor and outdoor space, but what about the digital realm? If you visit our website at bburglibrary.net and click the “Learning & Research” tab, you’ll find a treasure trove.
eBooks and eAudiobooks have been part of our collection for more than a decade. Fast forward to 2022, and now there are more choices than ever. In addition to our original eBook and eAudio collection, which features more than 10,000 items, we now offer streaming television, movies, music and magazines, with hoopla and Kanopy. Keep digging around on our “Learning & Research” page and you’ll find databases that cover a variety of topics – legal help, automotive repair, prospect lists and more. All of these are accessible with your library card.
Lastly, I can’t talk about the magic of libraries without talking about our staff. You would be hard-pressed to find a more kind and caring group of people. Our librarians are dedicated to connecting you with what you need. Reading recommendations, book acquisitions or even instruction on how to use an application on your device are all part of the gig when it comes to being a librarian.
In a world with so much stress lurking around every corner, I hope you’ll stop in and seek out some library magic. Find your next great read, attend a program, channel your inner child and play pretend with your little one, or just camp out and work or study. Escape to the library and find the magic that belongs to you and our community.
Brownsburg Public Library is located at 450 South Jefferson Street in Brownsburg. For the latest news and information, visit bburglibrary.net. Also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or TikTok.
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