Being only five years old, the Villard Square Library is one of MPL’s newer libraries. When I spoke with the branch manager about what makes her branch special, one of the first things she said was “there’s so many kids here!” She mentioned how this branch is “definitely a neighborhood library, we see a lot of the same faces regularly.” A lot of kids come here after school for a place to hang out. The manager mentioned how a recent “non-circ” survey of their young reader books revealed that a significantly >small< number of books weren’t being checked out regularly, demonstrating that their young fans >are< reading – and reading a lot of different books. The kids come for the computers, the books, the wide selection of graphic novels, manga, music CDs, and movie DVDs. They also regularly have a “Teacher In The Library” to help kids working on their homework.
Besides the categories you expect in a library – fiction, mystery, auto-repair, and so on, Villard Square also has large section of urban fiction that their more mature readers enjoy. A lot of adults come to this library for computer time, to do test-prep, to get help with job hunts. Similar to the “Teacher In The Library” for kids, for adults there is “Drop-In Job Help” at Villard. A job trainer specialist helps people to write resumes, fill out online applications, and to set up email accounts.
The Villard Square Library community room is another part of this library worth mentioning. The room is used to host meetings, presentations, and other special events.
Something that I’m hearing mentioned so often at the libraries I visit is how they provide the internet access that so many Milwaukeeans may not have at home. Access to information, whether it be in books, or via the computers and Internet, is a prime purpose the Milwaukee Public Library System serves. As ever, it was a pleasure to visit this library, and I can’t wait to visit my next stop. Every library I visit further cements the importance in my mind of libraries and literacy.