Columns & Commentary

The value of Muncie’s libraries


When “Club” Bracken seems too crowded, too dark or too academic, the many branches of Muncie Public Library are ready to offer resources to Ball State students.

The Kennedy Branch, located on McGalliard Road, is right across the street from The Grove apartment complex, where many students live. Currently, a distinct lack of students means the library lacks programs aimed at college students.

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Mary Lou Gentis, the Kennedy Branch manager, would like to change this. According to Gentis, the library has put out surveys to ask students what they would like to see at the library. The survey includes a list of the current services as well. There’s a concern among library staff that students don’t realize the services are free or even available.

“I’d like students to walk in here, and enjoy walking in here.” Gentis said.

An academic library, like Bracken, features academic books and information to further learning, but doesn’t focus on fun media quite like Kennedy. One shelf is dedicated entirely to Blu-ray disks, another has Xbox games. They even have a collection of Wii-U games available for checkout.

Jessie Keith, an elementary education major, said she is one of only a few students she knows who uses the public library.

“I think a lot of students don’t use it because it’s off campus and a bit of a trek to get to, and the process of getting a new library card is a bit of a hassle.

The library does offer programs for adults in the community, some of which students can take advantage of. There are events in which a legal representative will answer questions, as well as an event where an expert will help answer questions about health insurance plans one-on-one. Occasionally, there are movies and speakers open to the public.

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Library cards are free; students just need to provide ID and proof of residency. If students live on campus, they can go to the branch and ask them to send a letter to their address address. If a student brings back the letter, it serves as proof of address.

Keith said she uses the public library because of the variety it provides.

“I chose to use the library because I wanted more novels to read, especially adult ones which Bracken doesn’t carry an enormous selection of,” Keith said. “For the most part, Bracken has a good selection, especially of children’s books and resources for papers, but it doesn’t have a wide selection of the modern novels that people check out from a public library.”

The MITS bus that runs through campus stops right next to the library, on Rosewood.

E-books and a streaming service can be used online with a card, meaning the some people may only need to go into the branch to get the physical card.

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Carnegie Library

The public library has multiple branches including Carnegie Library, Maring-Hunt Library and Connection Corner. Carnegie features the genealogy and history center, where you can learn about the history of Muncie or trace your family’s history. The Maring-Hunt Library features a 3-D printer, quite a bit of space to study and a wide range of programs for children. The Connection Corner is a place where adults can go to learn technology basics.

Working together, Ball State students could change the way the Muncie Public Libraries caters to students.

Part of the library’s goals is to ensure every resident in Muncie has access to technology. Community is a big part of the program’s three-year plan, which ends this year.

 

What do the libraries offer?

Carnegie Library

Learn more in the history and genealogy center, where you can learn about Muncie’s history or trace your own family history. Free computer labs are available as well.

Kennedy Library

Game days and programs for adults, children and teens as well as equipment books and more that can be checked out.

Maring-Hunt Library

Maring-Hunt Library

Maring-Hunt Library

This library offers many children’s programs and equipment and books that can be checked out.

Connection Corner

This is a place where all of Muncie’s residents can go to be comfortable and use technology. People can book free one-on-on appointments to be tutored in technology. There is also video production equipment.

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Streaming movies, music albums and audiobooks on Hoopla. You don’t need to go to the library to use the materials on the app or online.

 

 

 

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