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Library of the Month: Portage Public Library

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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

The Portage Public Library is doing amazing things in their community.

New Children’s Department Focuses on Events and Education

Children enjoying an engaging storytime! The Portage Public Library’s children's library department expanded in 2013 and is approximately 6200 square feet - plenty of space to host a variety of events without disturbing the traditional library user. Featuring expanded programming like after school book parties for Mo Willems, Dr. Seuss, and Magic Tree House, and seasonal events like "Marvelous Mustache Day" for 4th & 5th graders that included a mustache photo booth, decorate-your-own mustache sugar cookie station, tic-tac-tashe, and more, the children’s department is an exciting space bridging learning and fun.

Another focus of the Children’s Department is hosting several educational programs each month. A perennial favorite is the drop-in DIY stations. Kids can participate at their own pace and explore different reading, writing, math, and art activities. Providing an alternative to even the youngest or most special of their patrons, the stations have proven a successful addition to the library.

Working Together

The Portage Public Library sponsors programming with organizations in the community such as the Columbia County Extension, Columbia County 4-H, Portage Center for the Arts, Columbia County Master Gardeners, and the local public and parochial schools. The first Saturday of the month is "Family Fun Event" and the topics run the gamut from educational to pure fun. A local high school science teacher presented an interactive program on planets, enthusiastic volunteers gave a hula hoop demonstration and organized games, and approximately 135 kids and their families attended a family sock hop - with a DJ and cool lights!

Community Service

In addition to serving the community with educational and recreational programming, the library goes above and beyond and does its part in giving back. Last spring Portage Public Library built and planted two garden beds, and the harvest was used in the community’s first attempt at providing free lunches through the USDA summer food service program. The library served lunches to more than 1,000 kids and plans on offering the program again this summer. Also, last summer the library began a "community charity challenge". Each time a child read two hours, they had a vote for one of three local charities. At the end of the summer, children presented the winning organization with an oversized check.

Enthusiasm, passion, and creativity have driven this library to provide incredible resources to their community.