Library still turning pages

Children have been gathering at various locations around the county for drive-in story hours in all weathers.

Jennifer Moonsong

Central Division

General Manager

Jobe Publishing, Inc.

 

Winter has always been an ideal time to cozy up to a good book, but it’s doubly true during a pandemic. Thanks to diligent efforts, the MCPL has found unique ways to connect with the patrons during the pandemic.

“The 2019-2020 fiscal year for the Metcalfe County Public Library was one of booming activity. However, in March 2020, that all came to a halt when our region shut down as cases of the Coronavirus increased and businesses were ordered to close,” said Director, Kasey Warf.

The MCPL closed its doors on March 16, 2020, but by mid-May had adapted to life during COVID times.

“We pivoted to online service by way of virtual programming and electronic services, and contactless curbside pickup,” she said.

On June 29, the library opened its doors to patrons once again, but with many newly implemented COVID precautions.

In order to meet the needs of people of all ages in Metcalfe County, creative twists to traditional services have been implemented.

“Through all the changes, the library never stopped serving the community,” Warf said.

 

For Children

In the way of children’s services, traditional offerings such as story hour haven’t been possible, but the new drive-in storytimes have been popular.

“Each month the bookmobile visits North Metcalfe, Edmonton, and Summer Shade for a Drive-In Story Time. Multiple books are read, as well as songs and fingerplays. Each child that attends receives a craft bag that is made specifically for that Drive-In Story Time,” said Warf.

The library is also hosting Virtual Story Hour via YouTube.

“Every week Virtual Story Time has a different topic. It consists of multiple books being read, songs, and fingerplays. Due to publisher copyright permissions, Virtual Story Times are uploaded to the library’s YouTube channel and a link is sent out to all registered participants.”

To keep little fingers busy, the library is also offering Children’s Craft to-go Bags every week, with varied themes that correspond with Virtual Story Hour. To-go bags can be picked up at the library.

“Starting in February, we plan to have a location in North Metcalfe and Summer Shade for a monthly children’s craft kit drop off to better serve children in these areas that may not be able to make it to Edmonton,” added Warf.

In February, the annual “Bring Your Child to the Library Day” is still taking place in February, with a slight adjustment.

“This typically takes place the first Saturday in February. However due to COVID this year the program will be taking place all week, February 8th – 13th,” Warf said.

Children can expect to take away to-go bags that contain stickers, bookmarks, a craft, and a free age-appropriate book.

 

For Adults

As always, the library is still offering many things to the adult population of Metcalfe County, and is especially in tune with the needs of the elderly at this time when being out and about is challenging, and in some circumstances impossible.

Services include no-contact bookmobile home stops for the elderly and shut-ins, book deliveries to the nursing home and adult daycare centers, and for those unable to enter the bookmobile.

MCPL also offers setup and delivery for the Talking Book Program.

“This service is provided in conjunction with state library that provides a listening device with recorded books for those who are unable, or are no longer able to read,” said Warf.

The library is also still offering special events and programs for adults. They will host a Free Flu Shot Clinic on January 15 from 10:00-3:00 (No registration required), the Annual Adult Winter Reading contest, and are proving Craft to go Kits for Adults.

Help with essential needs such as help filing unemployment, job applications, resumes, and online forms are available. Typically accessible services such as fax, print, and internet access are still available, and contactless curbside pickup has been added to the list.

The MCPL is planning a virtual Summer Reading Program for children and adults, and in order to make technology more accessible, they hope to offer laptops for check out in coming months.

With no end in sight when it comes to the far reaches of the pandemic, these new services, and potentially will remain part of the library’s day-to-day functions for as long as necessary.

“Unfortunately, I don’t foresee 2021 ushering in any major changes in how the library operates through the pandemic. Programming is a big part of what we do here; I have to give major credit to library staff for being so adaptable and creative in turning all programming virtual. So much work goes into even the smallest program. These guys work so hard to continue to crank out new and creative virtual programs on a daily basis,” said Warf.

To register for any of the events which require registration, or to ask questions, please call 270-432-4981 or email metcalfelibrary@gmail.com.

 

 

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