KOKOMO, Ind. — Several students gather around a table, hunting for the right place for their puzzle pieces. A few feet away, a board game is in progress, and another student browses the shelves, searching for the newest bestselling novel.
Upstairs on the second floor, the atmosphere is much quieter, as students study, research, and locate materials for their classroom projects.
Does this look like a university library? If it doesn’t, visit the Indiana University Kokomo, to see a modern library in action.
This week, the library celebrates National Library Week, an annual observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), to highlight the contributions of libraries and librarians, and to promote library use and support. All kinds of libraries, including public, school, academic, and special, participate.
“Libraries are the great equalizers,” said Polly Boruff-Jones, dean of the library. “The resources they offer are available to everyone, at no cost, without censorship or opinion.”
She said while the second floor is a more traditional library atmosphere, with quiet study encouraged, people are surprised to find the first floor is a social, fun place to be, with students completing group work and visiting.
There are two puzzle tables, games, magazines, bestsellers that are changed out monthly, and other materials available.
“You can come in and relax here, and take a break,” she said. “The library is not just quiet place to study anymore. It’s also a community center.”
While it has the traditional materials like books, scholarly journals, and microfilms, the IU Kokomo Library also offers several streaming video services, with programming from places including PBS, BBC, and other networks.
Librarians have a wide variety of activities planned for National Library Week, including a celebration of the building’s 20th birthday, with cake served from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 15. Other activities include a guessing contest with prizes, a video contest, selfie stations in the library, daily scavenger hunts, free popcorn, and giveaways each day.
Staff from the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library attended the kick off, and helped students sign up for library cards. All IU Kokomo students and faculty are eligible for those library cards, even if they do not live in that library district.
Boruff-Jones added that community members may also receive IU Kokomo library cards, making its resources available to them.
To learn more about the IU Kokomo Library, and National Library Week, go to www.iuk.edu/library.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.