Geeking Out about Libraries in Wisconsin

Confessions of a bibliophilic book-bosomed bibliophagist – a book-loving devourer of books who carries a book at all times

I am drawn to libraries the way most puppy dogs are drawn to a park. It’s like a magnetic pull – I want to go in, even if it’s just to browse. Once I’m inside, it takes strength and determination to make me leave.

“Just one more hour… Pleeeeease! I’m having so much fun! I haven’t even explored that side over there yet!”

As a kid, I remember going to the library often, but I don’t think the library or my mom could keep up with how quickly I went through books. I had a voracious appetite for books ever since I could read. In elementary school, I remember reading Mary Higgins Clark books during recess and getting in trouble for reading during class — I would prop the book open in my lap and multitask through handwriting and math lessons. I also remember my mom dropping $100, easy, on those Scholastic book order forms because I would go through the paper flyer and circle all the books that sounded interesting to me. (PS – Thank you, Mom!!!)

Check out the AMAZING Blog: Branded In the 80s. These images comes from their post, Vintage Book Club Flyers Part 3, Scholastic’s Arrow, TAB, and Honeybee clubs…

Time to Geek Out: My First Visit to…

When I lived in Huntington Beach, borrowing a book from the HB Public Library meant you had to return that book to the same library. Since I am madly in love with the Huntington Beach library (photos here) and since it was only 5 minutes driving distance from my old apartment, that never bothered me, and I had no reason to explore other libraries in the region.

For some (glorious, brilliant) reason, that is not the case in Waukesha County. If you borrow a book from one library, you can return it to another library in the same county – for no extra charge.

Pauline Haass Public Library, Sussex

Have you ever finished a book and thought, “Oh no! I need the next book in the series, ASAP!” When I was having one of those “emergencies”, the Pauline Haass library in Sussex was the closest library that was open on a Sunday. And they had the book I needed.

I was surprised how many books the Pauline Haass Library has based on how small the town looked while I was driving through it. Granted, I haven’t seen all of Sussex, so I don’t actually know how big the town is, but I’ve been disappointed by small libraries before. When I lived in Long Beach, I was walking distance to a library (my dream come true) but it was so tiny (my nightmare) they never had any books I was looking for. It didn’t seem to matter that I lived in a heavily populated area – there were easily more people in my apartment building than books in their collection.

During my visit, I was also caught off-guard by how loud the librarian spoke – she was helpful and friendly, but she spoke in a normal voice, not the hushed whisper I had grown accustomed to from other libraries.  And no one yelled at us or gave us dirty looks for being so loud… it was great.

Since I was on a mission to learn the fate of Percy Jackson and his friends, I didn’t linger as long as I usually would in the library – I was only there for 90 minutes. Before I left I mentally flagged the Ms. Marvel comic series and the “Physics of Superheroes” book in the Science section as my future reading material.

Oh, I’ll be back for you, don’t worry.

Oconomowoc Public Library

I knew I’d like the Oconomowoc Public Library before I stepped inside when I saw Athena and Poseidon (and their scarves and hats) guarding the entrance.

Once I crossed the threshold, I lingered in the antechamber for a good five minutes admiring the murals.

After standing outside the official entrance long enough to make it awkward, I finally went through the doors and entered the library. A huge smile spread across my face, like when a puppy realizes its owner has returned home.

This library has a bigger collection than the one in Sussex. I loved their “community puzzle” and how they had books in other languages.

I meandered through this library for a good two hours, and that was before I found the Travel section, when I spent another 45 minutes mentally exploring the world and making lists of places I’d like to visit before I die.

I settled on a book on “Easy Day Trips in Wisconsin” and forced myself to leave. If I wasn’t getting hungry I could have stayed there another hour.

Milwaukee Public Library

Milwaukee Public Library is outside the Waukesha County system, so I was not able to borrow any books, but that didn’t prevent me from spending 3 hours there – on two separate occasions. The second of those occasions, I was there to print research on caffeine and energy drinks – more on that in a second. The first time visited the Milwaukee Public Library, I was overcome with awe. (I KNOW, I am SUCH A NERD!!!)

Sometimes entering a library makes me sad. Sometimes, I am filled with so much happiness by how many books are assembled in one place, but then I get a depressing wave of equal magnitude in which I feel sad that I’ll never have enough time on Earth to read all the books I want to read. As an author, I also feel sad for those people who’ve put their heart and soul into their paperback babies, only to have them ignored among a thousand other books in that genre.

Will my paperback baby be added to the collection at Milwaukee Public Library? I think so!!!

As I mentioned above, the second time I went to the Milwaukee Public Library, it was to print a bunch of research papers on caffeine and energy drinks. Since my Waukesha Library card doesn’t include libraries in Milwaukee, I needed the library staff to help me. And help me they did!

While one of the library members was printing the research papers off my thumb-drive, he noted the papers were all about caffeine and energy drinks, which got us talking about these controversial products. We discussed how popular they’ve become and how much research there is “out there” about caffeine. I had the perfect opportunity to mention I had written “A Guide to Energy Drinks”, and the staff members were thrilled! They confirmed my book was among their database and confirmed I was a “local author” with my move to Wisconsin. They collected my information and assured me they would try to get “the collector” to consider my book! How great would that be?!?!?

Mukwonago Community Library

I’ve dedicated a whole post to this library. You can read that post here.

Here’s the quick summary:

I love the big giant signs for the sections/stacks. I also LOVED their punny jokes for their Groundhog Day event. And they have a fish tank in the children’s section. In fact, this is a GREAT place to bring little kids because they have puzzles and other interactive games built into the bookshelves.

… more to come…

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