Putting the “Pub” in Public Library

5 min read

By Harmony Faust

To say I’m a fan of craft beer is accurate, but perhaps doesn’t paint the full picture. The fact is, for my husband and I, it’s “our thing.” We appreciate craft beer to the point that last month, for the fourth consecutive year, we traveled to the Annual Winter Beer Festival of the Michigan Brewers Guild. That’s right, Michigan’s Brewers Guild. This places us outdoors in the middle of February at a beer festival. The high was 24 degrees but surrounded by good beer and good friends, no one seemed to notice.

We have visited 56 breweries in our great state alone and more than 80 total across the U.S. Our growler collection requires custom shelving and we’re on our fourth batch of all-grain homebrew.

It’s our thing.

So imagine my giddiness when I had an opportunity to talk about craft beer with a library partner of ours—Lance Werner, public library programming for craft beer loversDirector of the Kent District Library here in Michigan. For those of you who don’t know, Kent County is in Grand Rapids, voted BeerCity USA in both 2012 and 2013, and there are over 20 breweries within 20 minutes of the city.

Lance and I met at LJ’s Director’s Summit months ago, and ever since, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about his magic words, “we put the pub in public library.”

Here’s a description of the Beer Programs at Kent District Library:
Free home brewing classes, beer tastings will be held at various Kent District Library branches in January and February, as well as tours of two local breweries followed by brewing book discussions led by library staff.

Loving when my personal and professional worlds collide, I just haven’t been able to let this idea go. It’s such an interesting way for a public library to reach out to its community and engage individuals in new and meaningful ways. Putting the pub in public libraries? Are you serious? As far as puns go, it’s pretty amazing.

In the spirit of helping you kick off or amp up your beer programs, I did some research to see what resources Gale might offer me and others, who are interested in geeking out on all things craft beer.

I’m delighted, but not surprised (we have more than 10,000 titles, after all), to discover that we have many eBooks through GVRL providing multiple perspectives on craft beer.

Here are some of the titles that piqued my interest.

Traveling to breweries

Did you know that “Beervana” is the term used to refer to Oregon’s Beer Trail? I didn’t. And now I need to plan a trip there. Here are some of the travel series that cropped up in the search results, highlighting breweries from Alaska to Zurich.

  • DK Eyewitness Travel
  • Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides
  • Rough Guides

Opening your own brewery

Gale offers a number of resources for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business planning, these eBooks all contain entries specific to craft beer, microbreweries and the brewing industry overall.

  • Business Plans Handbook –Two samples for microbrewery and one for brewpub.
  • International Directory of Company Histories
  • Encyclopedia of Global Industries
  • Market Share Reporter: Trends Over Time

public library programming for craft beer loversThe popularity of craft beer

It’s not just my thing. It’s the thing for a lot of people. Explore craft beer from a cultural perspective with titles like:

  • St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (Booklist Editors’ Choice: Reference Sources, 2013)
  • Alcohol in Popular Culture : An Encyclopedia

Learning about specific beers

DK’s Great Beers: 700 of the Best From Around the World seems like a title you could get lost in. With brewery details, histories, recommendations, and tasting notes on hundreds of beers, I almost did.

How beer is madepublic library programming for craft beer lovers

Can I just say, I’ve heard this broken down a number of times on various brewery tours and even in my own garage but the “Fermentation: Alcohol” article in Food: In Context provided a simple explanation the chemical reaction that makes alcohol.

Whether you decide to check out one of our newer titles, or dig into an oldie but goodie, I hope you found something you like. Maybe you’ll even feel inspired to launch your own beer programming ahead of American Craft Beer Week, May 12 – 18, 2014.

Personally, I’m most thrilled to discover that GVRL contains The Michigan Companion: A Guide to the Arts, Entertainment, Festivals, Food, Geography, Geology, Government, History, Holidays, Industry, Institutions, Media, People, Philanthropy, Religion, and Sports of the Great State of Michigan. (Omnigraphics, 2012.) How’s that for a title? I’m telling you…you can find anything in GVRL.

What passion would you like to pursue? We’d be happy to give you a free trial or do the digging for you. Just let us know…what’s your thing?
[alert-info]Harmony Faust

About the Author

Harmony is Gale’s Marketing Director for Public Libraries. She has an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications and 13 years’ experience in the publishing industry. She loves her husband, 15-month old son, craft beer and Pinterest.


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