One thing we might share these days is, in general, a greater appreciation for homes and communities. While some might call for change (I want to paint my front door), the COVID era, and the overlapping social justice movements, has perhaps surfaced in many a love of certain local institutions, traditions, and groups. Maybe this is because they bring great joy in any format, or they are on hold, or because they have adapted, or because they have continued to plug away delivering essential services.
I am thankful for our school and public libraries for all of the reasons below:
- They bring great joy. My daughter checked out a stack of books in March before school closed, and already in the first week of school, our ever-energetic school librarian had a system for checking out books to kids, plus a way to recommend new titles and old favorites. I continue to check out books curbside from our public library; it is a much more thoughtful project to search for books I want to read and then hope they are in the catalog that results in great satisfaction when they end up bagged and waiting for me.
- They are on hold, and they are adapting. Summer reading programs might be the best example. It was not the summer for growing attendance, but many public libraries did offer virtual summer reading programs with kids logging books and hours online. Many found ways to have virtual and in-person celebrations, including a few that used CLiF Summer Readers grants to have live, outside, distanced presentations. Exciting news in our household was I won the adult summer reading raffle! I have not participated in this event in the past, but I felt so compelled to support the efforts of normalcy and consistency that I entered two book recommendations. I won a huge basket of staycation goodies – snacks, a hammock (featured above), a foursquare ball, and camping supplies.
- Plugging away. Libraries have become community hubs with computers, resources, programs, and social engagements. They have stepped up with increased resources on their web sites, including many downloadable audio books, curbside pick ups, virtual programs for kids and adults, hotspots for connectivity, and tireless staff evaluating regulations and welcoming patrons in new ways.
As we start a new phase of our “new normal” with kids back in school, it might be the perfect time to investigate how school and public libraries can help with materials, ideas, and entertainment.*