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Libraries are still alive and well - MessAge Media: Features

Aitkin librarian Mandie Krueger

Libraries are still alive and well

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Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 5:00 am

Long ago, public libraries were the place to go to borrow a book or do research.

They are so much more than that now, keeping up with technology and facing the digital age head on.

According to the website, Building Design & Construction, public libraries will avoid being relegated to the scrap heap of history in a digital age as long as they continue to serve as platforms for learning, creativity, and innovation that strengthen their communities.

That’s the conclusion of a new report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries,” which the Aspen Institute has produced in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

There are nearly 9,000 public library systems and 17,000 branches and outlets across the U.S. Nearly seven in 10 Americans say they have at least “medium” levels of engagement with their public libraries. And nearly a quarter of U.S. adults use their local libraries for internet access.

The Aitkin Public Library, part of the East Central Regional Library system, is one of those branches that continues to move forward and meet the challenges of changing times.

Librarian Mandie Krueger can attest to the relevance of public libraries at the busy branch in Aitkin. Along with books and magazines,

e-books, downloadable audio and DVDs. Public computers are available with internet access as well as a printer and copier.  Reference services are offered to older folks or those less computer-savvy.

But it doesn’t end there.

There are many programs offered at the library — craft classes, author speeches, musical performances, historical re-enactors and summer reading. A community room is available for public use, and according to Krueger is booked for four or five meetings per week. The Friends of the Aitkin Library  is a great asset, holding teas and book sales and helping to sponsor the summer reading program

“We want things that appeal to a large audience,” Krueger said, “patrons and those who are not.”

In Aitkin since August 2017, Krueger said she is still becoming familiar with the area and all the talent it has.  In December she earned a master of science in library science. She continues to keep current by watching webinars online, reading, watching news and following trends.

Mandie Brummund grew up in Bemidji, graduating from high school there in 2000. She furthered her education at the University of Minnesota  Duluth, earning a bachelor of arts degree in 2004 in history and German studies.

After college, she and her husband, Daniel Krueger, moved back to Bemidji “temporarily” and were there 11 years. She started out as a substitute at the Bemidji Public Library, then moved on to part-time, then full-time. She was the teen librarian for a couple years before coming to aitkin.

She said she loves her job in Aitkin, noting it has a low-key atmosphere, friendly patrons and a great staff.

“The staff made my transition from Bemidji to Aitkin really easy,” she said.

“Mandie encourages learning for people of all ages including herself,” said Janice Hasselius, local master gardener and frequent patron of the library. “She is always looking for new volunteers to help with things like the kids’ storytime, encouraging joining the Friends of the Library and knows her books, often suggesting books I may be interested in.”

Hasselius added that Krueger “knows how to work with people, clubs and local/state organizations as the library keeps a busy schedule for its meeting room.”

Some events coming to the Aitkin Library are Valentine crafts Feb. 7; “Love Songs and American Pop” presented by Angie Hoeft Feb. 26; spring crafts in April and the summer reading program in June.

“We want the Aitkin Library to be a welcoming place for everybody,” Krueger said.

Visit ecrlib.org for information on news and events at the libraries in the regional system. To see all the “e” services available at the library, go to https://ecrlib.org/find-a-resource/ebooks-eaudiobooks and-emagazines/

The Aitkin Public Library is open from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Seven reasons libraries are relevant:

•  They offer free educational resources to everyone.

• Libraries are safe refuges for the homeless and underserved populations.

• They help boost local economies.

• They play an important role in English language learning.

• Libraries make communities healthier.

• They preserve history, and more importantly, truth.

• Libraries help connect communities.

Source: Bustle website

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