Take and Make: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) With Voces

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Voces representatives will lead this program about the cultural significance and observances of the Day of the Dead while creating sugar skulls. All of the materials to create a sugar skull are included in the Day of the Dead Take and Make Kit. The kits also have an additional surprise inside! Participants may bring their sugar skulls to the downtown library’s Creative Space for display in honor of Day of the Dead.

Monday, Sept. 27,
Kits available from both libraries while supplies last,
Monday, Oct. 11, 6 p.m.,
Live streaming on Willard's Facebook page, YouTube, and WillardLibrary.org

Tarot’s Forgotten Iconography, Symbolism and Storytelling Power

Tarot was born of the confluence of two very human impulses: playing games and finding meaning in randomness and chaos. Intuitive counselor Laetitia Barbier will lead viewers through six centuries of tarot cards, focusing on art, historical context, and why these cards continue to intrigue today.

This program is part of a three-part series Willard is doing on "A Positive Look at Death" during October.

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m.,
Live streaming on Willard's Facebook Page, YouTube, and WillardLibrary.org

Death Cafe

At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea or coffee, and discuss death. Participants are invited to share their cultural, spiritual, and professional traditions surrounding death. The goal of a Death Cafe is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

Please note: A Death Cafe is NOT a support, therapy, or bereavement group. If you are in need of such assistance, please contact Social Services Librarian Stephanie Boyd at 269-968-8166, ext. 501, for assistance.

This program is part of a three-part series of programs Willard is doing on "A Positive Look at Death" during October.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 6 p.m.
Willard Library Meeting Room
Click here to register
Thursday, Oct. 21, 11:30 a.m.
Helen Warner Branch
Click here to register

Discover Willard Library

A new Creative Space is one of several recent and returning services Willard Library in Battle Creek offers this fall.

“We are overjoyed to be back to normal, and we invite everyone to Discover Willard!” Kristine Pioch, public relations librarian, said.

“While people were staying home for many months, they may have gotten out of the habit of going to the library,” Pioch said. “Whether you’ve been a regular library customer or never had a library card, we welcome you to the library.”

Willard has two locations: downtown at 7 W. Van Buren St., and the Helen Warner Branch, 36 Minges Creek Place. After Labor Day, Sunday hours resumed. The hours are:

  • Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1-5 p.m.

Throughout the summer, work has been going at the downtown library to convert the former magazine and newspaper room into the new Creative Space.

Creative Services Librarian Jenny de Jong is available to help guests use the equipment, which includes a recording booth, a laser cutter, a 3-D printer, a vinyl cutter, a heat press and a film scanner.

In the future, classes on how to use the equipment will be offered.

As part of the Discover Willard! campaign, the library offers help to those who have outstanding fines or overdue materials.

From Sept. 16 through Oct. 31, Willard will match dollar for dollar any money paid on fines. For example, for an account with $30 in fines, if the guest pays $15, the library will match the $15. Charges for lost materials are not included.

Also, from Sept. 16-30, the library offers fine-free check-in. All materials that are returned will be checked in fine free.

“If you have an overdue book or DVD, this is the best time to return it to the library as you will not be charged any late fees no matter how late it is,” Pioch said.

New materials arrive daily to enhance the library collection, which includes books, audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs. In addition, more BIPOC materials have been added.

The library’s digital services—Hoopla, Libby/Overdrive, and Freegal—offer downloading and streaming of ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, magazines, music and graphic novels/comics.

“One of my favorite activities is reading magazines from Libby/Overdrive,” Pioch said. “Hundreds of magazines are available with just a couple of clicks on your phone, tablet, or computer.”

In addition, newspaper and magazine print subscriptions have restarted, and many are how arriving.

“When the pandemic began, we stopped loaning maker kits and toys,” Pioch said. “Now, both are available for checkout.”

The downtown building’s Lower Level is open again after school for students from 2:30-5 p.m. on school days.

Willard also offers several services including:

  • Computers for public use
  • Self-serve copy machine
  • Scan to email service
  • Fax services

And the librarians at the Information Desk are eager to help. They can look up a phone number or address, find something on the internet, answer a question or order a book.

Book a Librarian appointment are available again, although they are virtual. Librarians can spend up to 30 minutes helping with technology.

“It takes less than five minutes to get a library card, and it brings you a wealth of resources for entertainment, lifelong learning, and research,” Pioch said.

Residents and property owners in the Battle Creek, Harper Creek, Lakeview and Pennfield school districts are eligible for Willard Library cards. To get a library card, please bring a photo ID with your current address to either library.

When students turn 5 or begin kindergarten, they may get their very own library card. To get children cards, parents need to bring their photo IDs with their current addresses.

For more information, go to Willard's website; call 269-968-8166, ext. 513, or email the Information Desk.

TenBrink gift to support new Creative Space

Longtime Battle Creek resident Joanne TenBrink made a donation of more than $95,000 to Willard Library as part of her estate.

“We are so very grateful that Joanne chose to recognize Willard,” said Library Director Cathy Lucas. “We are honored by her bequest.”

Joanne’s son, Marvin TenBrink, said, “My Mom was thrifty and resourceful, so we never went without food or the necessities of life. So in saying that, whenever we needed a book for a school project or leisure, we went to the library.

“After my brothers and sisters and I grew up and moved out, she would venture out to the library alone or with her grandkids,” he said. “When the Helen Warner Branch opened, it pleased her because she didn’t need to make drives across town to visit her happy place.”

She would check out movies instead of going to the movie theater, Marvin TenBrink said, adding her favorite reading materials included inspirational fiction as well as books on sewing, crafts and quilting.

Joanne TenBrink, died at 83 in February 2020.

A portion of her gift will be used to develop a Creative Space at the Helen Warner Branch, 6 Minges Creek Place. Creative services are in high demand at many libraries. When completed, the new Creative Space will be named in her honor.

“This donation will enrich the experiences of everyone who uses the Creative Space. The space will open with items such as a sewing machine, metal stamping kit, jewelry repair kit, a film scanner, a heat press, mug press, photo box, foiling quill, and a Cricut vinyl cutting machine,” Lucas said.

The Creative Space should open mid-fall with set lab hours to use the equipment, programs, drop-in workshops, and beginner classes.

“The library is delighted that Joanne’s gift will be an investment in the future that will benefit local residents. Creative opportunities are something we’ve received growing requests to provide,” Lucas said.

In addition to being an avid reader, Joanne TenBrink was a master seamstress and active member of the First United Methodist of Battle Creek. 

Photo captions:
Left: Announcing a gift of more than $95,000 to Willard Library, are seated from left, Joanne TenBrink’s sons, Carl TenBrink, Nelson TenBrink, and Marvin TenBrink; standing from left, Creative Services Librarian Jenny de Jong, and Joanne TenBrink’s granddaughter Cortnee TenBrink. Right: Joanne TenBrink

Smile for Your Library Card!

Celebrate September as Library Card Sign-up month by getting a Willard Library card. The library will roll out the red carpet to welcome guests at both locations. Once you're done, please take a selfie with your new library card or a usie with a friend or family member behind a large photo frame.

Willard Library card allows you to:

  • Borrow books, DVDs, and CDs
  • Download or stream ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, and music
  • Receive email or text alerts when your holds are ready for pickup
  • Receive a courtesy reminder just before materials are due
  • Receive extra time on computers
  • Reserve a meeting room

Residents or property owners in the Battle Creek, Harper Creek, Lakeview, or Pennfield school districts are eligible for a free library card. Adults or parents must bring a photo ID with their current address to receive a card.

Children need to be in kindergarten or 5 years old to receive a card.

Hunt-A-Killer: Class of ’98

NOTE: You may still register for the Sept. 29 evening.

Calling all mystery lovers and amateur detectives. Help unpack a season of the immersive murder mystery game Hunt-A-Killer. Participants will work together to discover the clues, decipher the codes, and create an evidence board to solve the fictional case of the “Class of ’98.” Participants will have three weeks to solve the case. Time is ticking.

This program is open to adults and teens.

Wednesdays, Sept. 15, 22, and 29
5:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Willard Meeting Room

Click here to register.

Peeks into the Past: Made in Battle Creek

People around the world today know Battle Creek as the "Cereal City," but the city's manufacturing roots are deep. Before and after the rise of the cereal, several local industries found national markets.

On the next Peeks into the Past, local historians will delve into Battle Creek's manufacturing legacy and the inventors and innovators who powered it. For this program, Willard collaborates with the Historical Society of Battle Creek, the Battle Creek Regional History Museum, and Kellogg Community College.

Monday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m. ,
Live streaming on Willard's Facebook Page, YouTube, and WillardLibrary.org

Family History 101

Family history is so much more than dates and places. It's stories, discoveries, and solving mysteries about your family. Prepare for Family History Month in October, by hearing expert genealogist Jessica Brooks share tools to start the research process and activity ideas to connect with your family past and present. Every family has a story to tell – discover yours.   

Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in family history/genealogy from Brigham Young University and has been actively researching her family history for 25 years. She enjoys helping others learn how to explore their own family stories.  Read more at her blog, Serendipity and Family History.

Thursday, Sept. 30, 6 p.m.,
Willard Library Meeting Room,
Please click here to register