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

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.

Babytime

Early exposure to talking, singing, playing, reading, and writing are the building blocks of literacy. Children from birth through their second year will enjoy finger-plays, nursery rhymes, rhythmic activities, books, and free play with their caregivers.

Thursdays, 10 a.m., 
Sept. 9, 16, 23, and 30
Oct. 7, 14, 21, and 28,
Willard Downtown Meeting Room

Bonus Babytime!

If you missed Thursday’s Babytime or just want some extra Babytime, enjoy the video premiere on Fridays featuring Miss Beth and Miss Chelsea leading nursery rhymes and rhythmic activities.

Fridays, 10 a.m., 
Sept. 10, 17, and 24,
Oct. 8, 15, 22, and 29, 

Video premiere on Willard's Facebook and YouTube channels

Babytime

Early exposure to talking, singing, playing, reading, and writing are the building blocks of literacy. Children from birth through their second year will enjoy finger-plays, nursery rhymes, rhythmic activities, books, and free play with their caregivers.

Thursdays, Sept. 9, 16, 23, and 30, 10 a.m.,
Willard Downtown Meeting Room

Bonus Babytime!

If you missed Thursday’s Babytime or just want some extra Babytime, enjoy the video premiere on Fridays featuring Miss Beth and Miss Chelsea leading nursery rhymes and rhythmic activities.

Fridays, Sept. 10, 17, and 24, 10 a.m.,
Video premiere on Willard's Facebook and YouTube channels

Little Explorers: ‘We're Going on a Leaf Hunt’

Preschoolers are going on a leaf hunt with Miss Nicole! Youngsters will explore the beautiful world of leaves and learn why leaves change color and fall off the trees. Participants will hear the story “We're Going on a Leaf Hunt" by Steve Metzger and enjoy a special leaf hunt. Young ones will receive fall-themed crafts to complete at home. October Little Explorers on the Go Bags will include the materials for this program.

Monday, Oct. 18, 10 a.m.,
Video premiere previewing this week’s story time with a craft on Willard's Facebook and YouTube channels,
Tuesday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m.,
Willard Meeting Room,
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.,
Helen Warner Branch

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