Do you have a library book lying around that you forgot to return last week? Maybe you have a book that you checked out last fall that you keep meaning to bring back, or maybe that book was actually checked out in the fall of ’82. Regardless of what week, month or even decade you checked out a book from the Amery Public Library, you can now return it totally fine free.
The beginning of the year saw Amery’s library abolishing fees for overdue books. In the past, late fees were ten cents a day for books and 50 cents a day for DVDs. In 2018, fines were reduced for DVDs to 10 cents a day.
Amery Public Library Director Amy Stormberg said, “We are a service agency and as such we want to be sure we are making the library experience as pleasant as possible for our patrons. We did not want our patrons to feel shame or embarrassment at the prospect or returning a late item. Many patrons returned late items after hours or in our drop box to avoid having to face library staff. There were also parents who avoided letting their children check out certain materials for fear of receiving fines. The library exists to serve patrons of our community and we want to be sure they are utilizing it. We want patrons to continue coming to the library to check out more items and we want them to feel comfortable doing so.”
Amery’s first library was located in a small room in Amery’s old City Hall on East Birch Street. In order to reach the library, visitors needed to follow a wooden plank boardwalk the length of the building to a door located near the jail. The original library room contained a few book stacks, one table and a few mismatched chairs.
For several years the library was funded and staffed by members of the Amery Woman’s Club. In 1932, a $100 appropriation by the Amery City Council allowed Mrs. Edith Johnson to be hired as the first salaried librarian. During this time a library card cost ten cents and patrons were only allowed to check out one book at a time.
A lot has changed for the Amery Public Library since its early days. Today not only can you check out more than one book at a time, the library is the place to go for magazines, information on local history, meeting room space, assistance with genealogy and board games for kids and teens. They also offer electronic materials such as e-books and audiobooks for downloading to your device or tablet with your library card. Another gem at the library is their scanner. You can scan slides, negatives and old photos to put on a flash drive.
The library started its first Summer Reading Program in 1976. Now the Amery Area Public Library has kids, teens and adult Summer Reading Programs. All participants can earn prizes and chances to win additional prizes.
At 11 a.m. on Mondays through August 5th, Kids & teens (18 and younger) may enjoy a FREE picnic lunch at the library. Bring a blanket to sit on. Picnics will
take place on the grassy area (off Harriman Ave) behind the library and Golden Age Manor. In inclement weather, picnics will take place in the Burman Room. This program is made possible by the School District of Amery.
Also on Mondays, take advantage of stories, finger plays, rhymes, and songs for babies and toddlers. Weather permitting; story time will be outside on the grassy area behind the library. In inclement weather, meet in the Story time room for the program.
“Mini Martians Story time” takes place on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. for ages 3-6. The program promises to let imaginations soar with stories, rhymes, songs and a fun space-themed craft.
On Wednesday June 19, the library invites the public to meet some raptors from the Wildlife Science Center. Get an up-close look at three different birds and learn all about these amazing raptors of Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is sponsored by Amery Woman’s Club and will take place at the Amery Community Center.
A Powerup cooking class will take place Wednesday, July 24 for all ages at 2:30 and 4:00 p.m. Registrants can choose one time by logging on to amerylibrary.org/kids.
PowerUp your day with some healthy snacks and treats, but remember registration is required for this activity.
The Amery Public Library’s website is full of other special events and movie showings. While visiting the library this summer, do not be afraid to bring in that over due book, but leave your wallet at home. “Fine free” only applies to items that are checked out at the Amery Area Public Library. Items checked out at another library (even if returned in Amery) are subject to those lending rules of that library. Also, items that are lost or damaged are subject to replacement fees. When asked about the oldest over due book ever returned Stormberg said, “I do not have the exact date, but I can tell you we do get books that are more than a few YEARS overdue.”