Peeks Into the Past: Tales of Oak Hill Cemetery

Take a virtual stroll through Battle Creek's beautiful Oak Hill Cemetery and listen as we pay respects to some of the city's pioneers of industry, religion, medicine, music, and human rights. Jim Jackson, author of “Beyond These Gates" as well as other local history enthusiasts will be among our panelists.

The show will be available later on AccessVision.

Monday, May 23, 6:30 p.m.,
Live streaming on Willard's Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and

Helen Warner Branch temporarily closed

The Helen Warner Branch is temporarily closed during May for renovations.

Guests may use the downtown library at 7 W. Van Buren St. for all library services. Anyone who has questions may call 269-968-8166.

Important info:

--Materials may still be returned to the branch library drop box under the awning
--All holds normally picked up at the branch will be available at the downtown library
--Curbside service will be available at the downtown library Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Also during the closure, the branch’s new Joanne TenBrink Creative Space will be installed. The Creative Space will feature new equipment as well as some items that are also available in the downtown Creative Space.

New sunshades will be added to the Dean O. Barnum Amphitheater located behind the Helen Warner Branch. This will allow for outdoor programming when the sun is bright.

When the renovations are complete, the library plans an open house in June.

James Patterson to talk in Battle Creek

Willard Library is delighted to welcome James Patterson, the world’s best-selling author, to Battle Creek in June.

“An Evening With James Patterson” will be on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at the W.K. Kellogg Auditorium, 50 W. Van Buren St.

“We are thrilled to bring James Patterson here,” said Jade Woodridge, Willard reference librarian. “Willard has hosted some big-name authors throughout the years, but James Patterson is without a doubt the biggest.”

On June 6, his autobiography, “James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life,” will be released. The book has been called the most anticipated memoir of 2022.

“He has released a slew of books across a wide variety of genres as well as partnered with well-known writers and public figures for his nonfiction books. However, he has never written about himself. ‘James Patterson’ is the author's first autobiography and first personal work,” Woodridge said.

Since 1976, Patterson has written more than 200 novels and has had more than 114 New York Times bestselling novels and holds The New York Times record for most No. 1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author, a total of 67.

Admission to the event will be free, but tickets will be required. Tickets are now available to anyone from the downtown library, 7 W. Van Buren St.

The day of the talk, the auditorium doors will open at 6 p.m. and if tickets remain, they will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The evening will focus on Patterson’s autobiography. The author will have a conversation with Michael “Mac” McCullough, Willard community engagement and local digital collection librarian.

The 45-minute chat will be followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session. Before the program, attendees may submit written questions for the author to answer.

After the program, Patterson will sign books until 9 p.m. The book signing will be limited to one book per person, and time does not allow for selfie photos.

Barnes & Noble from Lakeview Square Mall will sell Patterson’s books in the auditorium lobby.
Patterson’s autobiography explores how a boy from small-town New York became the world’s most successful writer. He once worked at a mental hospital and spent a long career in advertising, where he wrote the ad jingle “I’m a Toys ’R’ Us Kid.”

He has sold more than 375 million books worldwide. His fictional characters and series include Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, and Michael Bennett, and he also has written narrative nonfiction as “Walk in My Combat Boots.” Patterson has collaborated on books with many people including Dolly Parton and Bill Clinton.

After many years of writing adult best-sellers, Patterson turned to novels for middle schoolers hoping to foster a love of reading in young people.

He has always wanted to write the kind of novel that would be read and reread so many times that the binding breaks and the book literally falls apart. As he says, “I’m still working on that one.”

Leila Arboretum Turns 100

In May, Leila Arboretum turns 100 years old! To celebrate the centennial, Willard Library and Leila Arboretum are collaborating for four amazing programs. The first three Tuesdays will be mini-celebrations of garden critters, and the culminating event will honor plants that can be found in a garden or at the arboretum.

Tuesdays, 10 a.m.,
May 3: Birds,
CANCELED: May 10: Invertebrates,
May 17: Pollinators,
May 24: Plants,
Downtown Programming Room

Movie Night at Willard Library

The Making Waves Mondays series concludes with showing a special ocean-themed movie. Families are welcome to bring snacks to enjoy during the movie.

Here are some clues to guess the movie:

  • The characters visit the Italian Riviera
  • Two best friends go on a fun adventure, but the fun is threatened by a big secret
  • The movie premiered in 2021 and is rated PG.

Monday, July 25, 6 p.m.,
Willard Programming Room