In 2017, my family and I explored all of the Waukesha County Parks in one year. As a lover of public libraries and books in general, I thought it would be fun to visit all sixteen Waukesha County Public Libraries during the summer of 2019. The Waukesha County libraries are part of the Bridges Library System, which allows patrons to borrow and return books from any of the 24 libraries within Waukesha and Jefferson counties.
15105 Library Lane
New Berlin, WI 53151
My sixth stop took me to the New Berlin Library. I’d been here once before to take a video call but had never actually explored the library. I was in the area running errands on a rather stormy morning. Although some nearby businesses and street lights were without power, the library’s electricity was up and running.
Wide open spaces
When entering the library, you’ll find yourself in a two story foyer. Self-service checkout kiosks are on the left. The circulation desk (ask here if you’re interested in getting a library card) and the conveyer belt book return is on your right. The children’s section is past the circulation desk on the left.
What struck me most about this library regardless whether I was upstairs, downstairs, exploring the kids’ section, peering at magazines, wandering the young adult section, or roaming the stacks in the grown-up areas was the space this library has. Space on the shelves, space to explore, and space to sit. I find that space, especially at a library, is rather calming.
Returns are easy peasy, lemon squeezy
Book returns area super simple at the New Berlin Library. You can stay in your vehicle for the drive up book return and even get a peek inside the library while doing so.
I brought a number of books from other Waukesha County libraries to return, which I did inside the library. They have a conveyer belt system that scans in the books. One of my books was an “unknown item,” which the sign assured me was going to be okay, though I did peer through the opening to see what was happening to it. (When I checked the book out at the Mukwonago Community Library, it did have to be checked out at the circulation desk and not the self-check.)
The youth section of the library is sort of a T shape with a main aisle down the middle and ending at a wide wall of windows. Along the way, you’ll find different library friends reminding you to use your library manners and book packets based on themes (similar to book packs at the Mukwonago Community Library).
O reader, where art thou?
This area at the end opposite of the entrance features a puppet show area that was in full use upon my arrival. I found fiction books grouped by series on the left side of the T.
The shelving lines the wall with free-standing bookcases in the T area. Depending on the height of your child and/or your height, it might be a little hard to see over the bookcases, especially if your child is sitting in some of the cool chairs you’ll find here on the right side.
Did you know that the Bridges Library System libraries participate in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program? This program encourages families to read and share books with their child for a total of, well, 1000 books before finishing kindergarten. Reading to and with your child provides awareness of letters (even if they can’t yet read), introduction vocabulary, opportunities to increase attention span, time with your child, and opens their world to new things and ideas.
Not only does the New Berlin Library participate in the program, but they celebrate their readers along the way. It’s pretty cool to see your name on the wall at the library. Seeing it move helps children and family note their progress.
The youth section of the library also features two study rooms. These feature tables that can accommodate more than one person in each room.
But wait, there’s more
Young adults will find their own area upstairs. Not only will you find books here, but you’ll find a dedicated teen lounge open during after school hours. And when I say lounge, think large family room with windows and ample seating.
Besides the teen lounge, you’ll also find five study rooms upstairs (for a total of seven in the library). Check in with the reference librarian if you would like to use one of the rooms.
After a morning of exploring the library, I stopped into a nearby local coffee shop to rev up before my next set of errands.
Six Waukesha County libraries down, twelve to go…