Check it Out: Rhinelander District Library – Your Library for Life!
By Virginia Roberts
Rhinelander District Library Director
What does that mean?
Someone asked, “What does that mean?” during the RDL Fall Open House. It was a simple question about the line under the logo, “Your Library for Life.” A simple answer was given.
The library serves people from cradle to grave. RDL has baby storytime, and Senior Outreach. There are materials and interests for all ages in between. It’s true. Also, very simplistic.
As library staff, we frequently serve people before they were even born. People who want to become parents do research. Pregnant people, adoptive parents, bonus parents, brand new parents, grandparents, family, and caregivers all come here to learn, know, do what is best for the next generation. We see children take their first steps. Their physical first steps – yes – but also their first steps into the world when they read. Bonds that form between reading adults and listening child. Excitement of getting their first library card. Further excitement with understanding written words.
These are youngsters exploring and trying to understand the world around them, and themselves as they grow. They bring in report projects. They want to learn about people, science, and history, or a career.
“We have had an influx of teens and parents coming to the YA department looking for resources to help them learn about the basics of growing up,” said the teen librarian. “Over the last several months, the teen nonfiction section has been going through a large update, thanks to a Rhinelander Women’s Club Grant. The new additions were timely, as this past month saw a large increase in inquiries for books about growing into adulthood; it was wonderful to have updated resources to help them learn to navigate this part of their life. It was also great to see them ask for resources, often on their own, with no fear or shame. It speaks not only to their courage to talk about potentially embarrassing subjects, but also speaks to how the library has become a place for them to ask for help with deeply personal topics.”
But it’s not just our teens who ask for things like this. Adults want to enjoy, learn, and grow, too. RDL recently updated books about grief. Grief has been so present the last few years. A book does not judge. A book lets you know there are others like you, grieving. A book may help you find others in the community to help process this and other complexities.
Crafting tools, puzzles, and games is another growing collection. New books on those subjects as well. There are books on all kinds of hobbies, vocations, and tinkering.
If you need upgrading your skills for a job – or a new job, there are books, online Gale Courses, and test taking books and online materials available with a library card. Just this morning, I helped an entrepreneur with a book of legal business forms, mentioned how available courses, grants, and local business incubator might help them on their way. It was all very exciting, as the library sees this potential new business begin at RDL. It’s not the first time, either. Library staff, over the years, have seen people learn new skills, write and update resumes, fill out applications, even interview, here, at the library.
History, literature, gardening, and other interests? The library has all of them, waiting to explore and learn.
One of my favorite stories is a patron who, at the end of her days, was visited by our former Senior Outreach Coordinator. The nurses had called, and said to come, it would soon be time. So, her librarian came and sat with her awhile. The woman laid there, her body still, her eyes closed. And then before she left, her librarian said, “Well, I must go, now, but before I leave, I have a question. Did you get enough books?” Suddenly, the woman’s eyes flew open, and she began gesturing. She began to speak – almost shout, “Oh yes, my cup is full to overflowing. I have gotten enough books!”
Using your library is not only a way of life, but a way to really live. If you don’t have a library card, come get one. If you have outstanding fines, come talk to us, we’ll work with you to get past those. If you’d like to volunteer, Join RDL’s Friends of the Library. October 16- 22 is National Friends of the Library week celebrates Friends and all library volunteers. RDL’s Friends were formed in 2016 and help with all sorts of tasks, raise money through book sales at the Re-Tale Shop at 25 E. Rives, and host the annual Holiday Tea in December. RDL’s Foundation began as a Friends group in 1982, and raised money for the 1984 addition. The RDL Foundation now takes charge of the upcoming Ced Vig Holiday Book Fund and the Spring Capital Campaigns. Staff and volunteers want everyone who can to enjoy the library in our community to live, play, work, and grow. If you haven’t seen your library lately, you haven’t seen your library. RDL really is a library for life. And not just a life, but a lifetime of adventures. Hope to see you soon.