Sure, the West Bend Library can provide you with books and the occasional free event. But what else is it good for? In fact, there are many free resources offered by the library -here’s a list of just a few of them.
1. Online classes. Sign up for Gale Courses, online education made free with your library card. Relevant, instructor-led classes like business, technology, and writing last for six weeks, making them easy to fit into your schedule. Register for this program and kick-start your summer learning here: https://education.gale.com/l-monarchls/. On a similar note, BadgerLink teaches core skills like math, reading, writing, and grammar for adults. Unlike Gale Courses, these classes do not follow a specific schedule; rather, you can complete them at any time that works for you. Access this program for free with your library card here
2. Language-learning programs. ¿Quieres aprender español? With your library card, you can access Pronunciator, an online language-learning program. It can help you learn 100 different language (and it’s 100% free.) Plus, the program allows you to customize your lessons, adjusting them to fit your learning style. For example, you can record your voice to improve your pronunciation; you can watch videos and download songs to aid memory; and you can focus on key conversational phrases in the language of your choice. To learn a valuable new skill this summer, start here
3. Classroom resources. If you’re a teacher, tutor, or homeschooler, the library should be your best friend. Check out our impressive education collection, found on the second floor near the computers. These books offer curriculum materials, activity ideas, and tips for creating a positive learning environment. For an even more interactive education experience starting in September, schedule a 30-minute library tour for your group. Alternately, have a librarian come to your classroom to discuss upcoming library events, the Summer Reading Program, how to get a library card, and how to navigate the library itself. To arrange a tour or a visit, contact Terika Koch at firstname.lastname@example.org for preschool-4th grade, or Hannah Kane at email@example.com for 5th-12th grade.
4. Dementia support. Though dementia may seem unassailable, the library offers several resources that can ease the burdens of those struggling with it. For instance, a dementia resource collection can be found on the south wall of the first-floor adult reading section. This area features educational books, videos, and information about upcoming dementia programs. Moreover, the library hosts a Memory Café, a monthly club that allows people with dementia to make new friends and connect through shared experiences. Meetings are on 4th Tuesday of every month, from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM.
5. Book delivery. Even if you can’t make it to the library, you can get your favorite books, audiobooks, magazines, videos, music, and large print materials delivered right to your door. The library’s book delivery service assists those with physical limitations or special needs that prevent them from leaving the house. To arrange a delivery schedule that works for you, email outreach librarian Nancy Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (262) 335-5151, extension 5241.
6. Activity kits. Everyone knows you can check out books from the library, but did you know you can check out interactive activity sets? Take a look at the library’s collection of STEAM kits, which center around science, technology, engineering, art, and/or math. Each bag contains a different activity; some, for instance, focus on chain reactions, others on earthquakes, and still others on robots. The library also offers storytime-to-go kits. These bags contain several books and an activity, all based on a certain theme like the circus, the zoo, or space. To find a list of these kits and place a hold on one of them, click here. Even grown-ups can join in on the fun and pick up a book club kit. Each of these sets contains a book, an audiobook, and a list of discussion questions; some even come with movies and author biographies. More information on these kits can be found here.
7. Job search help. When you’re on the hunt for a new job, the library is the place to be. Head to the Job Center computers, located near the word processor on the second floor. These computers are perfect for drafting, editing, and printing resumes, cover letters, or other important employment paperwork. While you’re working, take advantage of a helpful collection of reference books near the computers. Some offer templates for cover letters, others list key phrases to use in resumes, and still others provide interview tips. You can also make use of of A to Z Databases, an online resource made available through the library. Use this database to browse over 2.3 million live job listings, do background searches, and find sales leads. Call the Reference Desk at (262) 335-5152 to guarantee two hours of Job Center use.
8. Material exchanges. Do you need help de-cluttering? The library’s got your back. Bring old puzzles, books, or magazines to three ongoing exchanges at the library. Trade in your puzzles on the second floor, near the community puzzle table; leave an old one and take a new one. Do the same with books and magazines at the exchange shelf on the first floor.
9. Special book collections. In the library’s overwhelming amassment of 175,000 books, many unique finds go unnoticed. One often-neglected book collection is the rare books. These books, located near the upper-floor reference section, are all historically significant, non-fiction, and published before 1950. Closely related to these books is the Wisconsin reference collection, a small but illuminating selection of local history books. These books are often used to research genealogy or historical events in nearby towns.
10. Digital design tools. The library boasts a cutting-edge Digital Creation Lab, located in its own room on the second floor. The lab is comprised of a digital tablet, a color printer, and (perhaps most exciting,) a 3-D printer. Additionally, it has a computer with software that can be used to create digital art, develop video games, edit writing, record audio, print 3-D models, and design websites. To make use of this exciting new resource, simply check in at the second-floor reference desk, present your library card, and sign a user agreement. This will guarantee three hours of lab use. If you’re looking to use the printers, make sure to bring cash; paper printing is $1 per page, and 3-D printing is $.25 per gram.
11. Family ancestry programs. Learn more about your family’s origins with two online genealogy programs made free through the library. Go back generations with Ancestry Library Edition, which can be accessed here. Similarly, explore family history, research guides, and census maps through Heritage Quest, which can be accessed here.