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Library of the Month: Muehl Public Library

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Library of the Month is a celebration of Wisconsin libraries compiled by the BadgerLink team.

The Muehl Public Library on Main Street in Seymour, Wisconsin is a small but vibrant library that works to create an innovative learning environment through collaboration and technology.

Library Director Elizabeth Timmins doesn’t see the size of the library as a constraint; she and staff take advantage of these challenges to connect with library users. For instance, area authors can showcase their work by donating their books to the library’s collection. Local artists also have space in the library and this fall the library will exhibit a local artist’s weavings. Recently, two Girl Scouts painted book quotes around the interior of the library and received their Silver Awards, the highest a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. The list goes on and on. “Library staff are always thinking, ‘What MORE can our library be?’,” says Timmins.

Because many patrons are choosing to further themselves through midlife career changes, supporting lifelong learning is an important element at the library. The changes in technology and learning can be challenging for non-traditional students and BadgerLink resources like LearningExpress Library are widely used for skill-building and test preparation. The Muehl Public Library also coordinates events, like Google training, at the local high school. Students from the Future Business Leaders of America teach participants, including library staff, how to use the suite of Google tools. “It’s critical that we know what our schools are teaching and support their goals,” says Timmins. To that end, the library has Chromebooks and a SMART Board which students may use to do homework, prepare for a presentation, or learn about technology.

The recent Stihl Tree Fund Bike Rally was another great example of how the library collaborated with the community for a good cause. Participants biked a 583-mile tour around the state to raise money for tree research and education, and the library acted as a rest stop on the bike rally’s route. The mayor welcomed library patrons of all ages together to cheer on the bicyclists and picnic in the library’s backyard. The Fire Department Explorers set up picnic tables and tents, local businesses provided sandwiches and ice cream, and flowers were purchased from the local farmer’s market. For the community’s children, Muehl Public Library provided free books about trees and sponsored science programming. The day culminated with a talk for adults and teens about “localizing the economy,” hosted by the UW-Extension. Everyone benefited from celebrating trees, biking, science, and reading. The event was a great success and the Stihl Tree Fund Bike Rally raised $483,000.

The Muehl Public Library facilitates access to ideas, information, and recreational reading to enhance the quality of life for all the people of the Seymour area.