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Beyond the Bookshelves: A Look at Winchester Public Library

By Allison Wilson

Libraries are more than shelves of books. They are vibrant assets to their communities. Town libraries are community centers for meetings, tutoring, art exhibits and children's activities, and most offer the latest in streaming video and music, eBooks, and eAudiobooks.

The Winchester Public Library has all these things and more. In addition to its healthy catalogue of books, media, and reference materials, Winchester offers many events and services, as well as a space for people to appreciate and learn about art.

"We are here for children, teens, adults and seniors," says Ann Wirtanen, Winchester Public Library Director. "We're here for a quiet space to study or read, and we are here to provide our residents and visitors with the best in books, movies, music and technology."

Children of all ages love coming to Winchester Public Library. Children's events take place six days a week, including story time, as well as popular programs such as Read to a Dog and the LEGO building and education workshops LEGO Science and LEGOPALOOZA. Additionally, the library's Rush Out And Read, or ROAR, program is in its 23rd year and brings teen volunteers out into the community to share the fun of children's literature.

Winchester Public Library caters to other crowds as well. Many local book clubs find meeting at the library simple and convenient. Winchester itself offers eight book clubs, with themes ranging from the classics to buzz-worthy titles. Friends of the library sponsor special events there, such as the History of Lighthouses in America and collaborative events with the Historical Society. Winchester also collaborates with local organizations such as the Jenks Center, the Family Action Network, the Multi-Cultural Network, the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence, and the Winchester Artists Network.

Art, in fact, is big part of Winchester Public Library. From the 19th century stained-glass windows in the Reference Room, to the lawn's painted steel sculpture crafted from Winchester's Transfer Station scraps, the library's permanent art collection offers a nice variety of works to admire. In addition, the library hosts monthly art exhibits, featuring the work of local artists.

While there is much to appreciate within the walls of Winchester Public Library, patrons are able to access digital content, utilize databases, browse the catalog, place requests, and renew their materials all from the comfort of their home. But one reason to visit the brick and mortar location is to speak with the librarians, who serve as a knowledgeable source for recommendations for age and interest appropriate materials.

"Professional librarians are always available to assist with research and guide readers to the best in new books," Wirtanen says. "We even provide the expertise to assist new users in downloading and streaming and navigating those new electronic gadgets we love but hate to admit are complicated."

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Paul Hareson

Interesting ideas should have practical application. Online libraries are a good project that can lower the level of education. I recently found a unique site [

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Acacia hary

Winchester public library is a beautiful and ideal place to read books. />]


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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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