By Sasha Debevec-McKenney'12
One might not expect a library-appropriate aura from a place that used to be a J.C. Penny (back when the Eclipse Center was the Beloit Mall), but the Beloit Public Library is genuinely a nurturing learning environment.
In April of 2009, the Beloit Public Library moved out of its old building (now the Hendricks Center for the Arts) and into the Eclipse Center. The new setting gave the library room to expand; the library’s collection, as of 2012, totals 178,076 items, which the downtown building could not hold.
The ceilings are remarkably high, and the windows almost reach up and touch them, making for beautiful natural light throughout the building. There are places to sit down and read hidden in the aisles. It feels even more quiet than the college’s library. That isn’t to say the library is silent, because it isn’t. It has life—busy, but not full. It is modern but homey, the way a library should be.
They sell books—for cheap. They throw events; arts and crafts and movie showings for kids, book clubs and and computer classes for adults, and author readings for everyone. The children’s room, which is located right at the front of the library, is a playtime paradise. There’s a Dobby statue, a puppet theatre booth (complete with puppets), and an aquarium. What more could a kid (or a kid-at-heart) want?
The public library’s connection to the college is evident. The person checking out your books or answering your question may be the significant other of a Beloiter— Jeff Adams, Josie Inaldo and Larry White all have a connection to the staff (and John Nicholas’s wife, Joan, just retired from the staff last week). The library also has an extensive Beloit history section, including every Beloit Memorial High School yearbook since 1916 and every copy of the Beloit Daily News since Aug. 3, 1848. The amount you could learn about the college there is probably second only to our own archives.
The library is located at 605 Eclipse Blvd., (easily accessible—just follow either Riverside Drive or Park Avenue from campus) and its hours are Monday-Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can get your own Beloit Public Library card for free with a Student I.D.