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.