The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.
Libraries in rural settings are energetically expanding services to stay ahead of community expectations and challenges, but with limited budgets and small spaces, creating a thriving library community can seem daunting. Lone Rock Community Library has found success by providing computers with internet access, offering games and learning programming, and promoting the use of BadgerLink resources.
With many services, from job applications to filing taxes, only available online, access to the internet is key to supporting rural communities. Lone Rock Community Library provides public computers with WiFi, and through the TEACH/DOA Library Fiber Project, the library will upgrade bandwidth to a minimum of 10 Mbps and replace several computers. The library replaces computers on a five-year cycle to make sure the hardware and software available is suitable for the latest applications. With these changes, the library will continue to be the online information hub in the community.
In addition to providing a sound technology infrastructure, the library also offers learning opportunities like computer classes for adults and gaming programming for kids. In June, the Lone Rock Community Library hosted classes to help users find genealogy resources and connect with others using social media. Due to their popularity, the library is planning to extend these programs in the future.
Minecraft, a multiplayer sandbox-style online game, is another popular activity at the library. Kids play, build, chase monsters, and connect with others in the community and around the world. "I have been waiting to do this all my life" said a 3rd grade Minecraft player. The success of the program has drawn kids in, where they become more familiar with technology and everything else the library has to offer.
BadgerLink is another way the Lone Rock Community Library provides support to its community. Director Rita Magno comments, “When I show patrons how to use the databases, they are surprised at the depth and breadth of information that is available!” Whether looking for health information or auto repair manuals, or ideas for your next read, BadgerLink provides resources with information on your topic. “It's a wonderful resource for the Lone Rock Community Library,” says Rita Magno.
Libraries across Wisconsin provide essential support to rural communities with access to technology and information.