Kids, readers, movie fans, job seekers, video gamers and even Lego builders have found what makes them happy at their local library branch. Madison Public Library (MPL) is one of the library networks that make up the South Central Library System (SCLS), a total of 54 branches in seven Wisconsin counties. MPL itself is comprised of 19 branches serving all corners of the city.
The library is a city office, funded by tax dollars and staffed by public employees. Its mission focuses on bringing in as many people and serving as many needs as space and budgets allow. Partnerships with neighborhood groups and schools are one way to expand services. Free tax help, art classes, knitting circles, and academic tutoring are just a few ways to spend time with your neighbors at the library. Parents get together weekly with toddler story times and yoga classes. Any group is welcome to schedule a meeting room without charge, as long as their event is open to the public.
Over the last few years, clubs of all kinds have sprung up after school for teens: animation and improvisational comedy classes, board and video game groups, and special performers during school vacations, like magicians and trained miniature dogs.
In spite of the many and growing options, however, most people come to borrow entertainment, books, movies and video games. Individual branches focus on special collections and offer regular displays on feature topics. Because all MPL and SCLS branches share materials and can transfer items for free from one branch to another, the entire catalog is always available for pick up at any branch. If the Wisconsin public libraries cannot find what you need, they can often borrow it for you from school, hospital, and special collections around the country.
Adding technology is a priority for many branches. Not only having enough computers to meet e-mail, printing, scanning and student needs, but keeping up with new electronic-reader technologies as well as adding computer and resume courses.
Free library cards are available at any library branch and are useable at any one of the MPL and SCLS branches. A photo identification is required: driver's license, passport or work badge. Proof of current address is also needed to receive a card the same day: a piece of mail, bank check or a copy of an online account. Kids under 18 can come in with their guardian (who has id and proof of address) and quickly get a card. For those who just want to use the computer, an internet card is immediately available with a photo id from any state.
For more information, visit www.madisonpubliclibrary.org