Libraries evolve to keep up with changing communities

(WMTV) - For many patrons in Dane County, libraries are no longer about books.

“People want that third place, that social space,” says Waunakee Public Library Director Erick Plumb. “A place to study, to meet with people, to have coffee with somebody.”

Tana Elias, Madison Public Library Marketing Manager, says in the past decade libraries have become that community space.

“It’s really a place to connect with community,” Elias says. “It’s a place to connect with resources and it’s kind of the nation’s living room in a sense.”

Elias says for nearly a fifth of city’s population it’s also a way to connect online.

“We know that twenty percent of people in Madison don’t have access to computers or Wi-Fi through work or through home,” she adds.

The Pinney Public Library, located on Cottage Grove Road, will soon move into a new space.

On Friday, November 30th, the branch will close temporarily while it works to move into an interim space. It will set up shop in the ACE Hardware across the street from the current location.

“We didn’t want to close our doors for over a year because of some construction delays,” Elias explains.

In Waunakee, the library is expected to open sometime next summer.
Plumb says while the current building served its purpose, this new building was long overdue.

“It was a great building for 1985,” he jokes. “It was big enough for the community at that time and it did was it was designed initially to do, which was house books.”

Plumb believes social engagement has become the new focus for libraries.

“You can stay home and watch Netflix any day of the week, but there’s something to be said about being with your neighbors in a community setting and engaging with them,” he says.

Plumb says residents are blessed to have the nineteen Dane County public libraries

“It’s really wonderful to be a part of that in this community,” Elias agrees.

For more information on the Pinney Library, click here

To look at details on the Waunakee construction project, head to this