December is passing quickly and I hope your plans are being made with care. In the spirit of these troubling times, we are working to approach things from a different perspective. We are finding it’s time to be kind to ourselves, evaluate traditions that are and are not working, and set a new course for our future. With these tough transactions come changes.
The first big change is, we are taking a break! Beginning December 24, the library will be closed through January 3. We will reopen January 4, 2021. Many do not realize librarians are considered front-line workers due to the services we offer. This is where our patrons come to care for personal business needs such as applying for employment or unfortunately, unemployment services. We furnish tax forms and voter registration forms. We were a site for the 2020 Census. We copy and fax and print and scan and email and do our best to see that your personal business needs are conducted with care and privacy. Oh, and we have books and no late fines! We have been open continuously through the pandemic. We have altered our services to be curbside only, limited in-library access, and we are unfortunately back to curbside due to the rising numbers of COVID cases in our area.
Like everyone else, we are tired of all the changes. We are going through boxes of gloves and bottles of disinfectant. Masks are hot, fog our glasses, and cause blemishes on our faces. We are handling all materials an additional three times in order to pass safely quarantined and cleaned materials to our patrons. We run back and forth to the door numerous times a day and aren’t always met by cheerful or even polite patrons. We have delivered books to our door, to your vehicles, to your homes, and to your places of work. We have done our best to meet your needs, but we have learned we also have needs. Our physical precautions are protecting our bodies, but our spirits need a bit of protection too.
We have missed seeing your whole faces. We miss the stories and jokes you tell about your pets and kids and neighbors and spouses. We miss exchanging recipes with our fellow cooks. We miss hearing hunting and fishing stories. We miss your hugs and your laughter and your friendship. Setting such limitations on people we love at a job we look forward to each day has been really difficult for us. So, we are taking a much-needed break to restore and revive our spirits.
January is generally a dreary month and we have some new programs planned for the long winter days we have to come. We hope our patrons will join us in participating in new adult and children’s programming and continue to support us as we support you. I am looking forward to the new programs and we have been very excited about planning what is to come.
Our checkout period was extended to three weeks some years ago and the pandemic has promoted us to go “fine free” as a gesture of goodwill towards our patrons. We will be open on our current altered schedule through December 23 and encourage our readers to stock up on enough titles to last through the end of the year. We are cycling the books out of quarantine and the holds list as quickly and safely as we can. Expect a call if you’ve been waiting! We want this new year to be a time of new beginnings for our library, and those will start with you! Stay tuned to this column as well as our website and social media pages for new programming opportunities.
One of my very favorite quotes is from the late Ram Dass and states, “We’re all just walking each other home.” As the holiday nears and the good stress of anticipation and the bad stress of tough decisions come, let’s remember that we are all in this together. In this super stressful time, we ask for your continued patience and support as we work to keep everyone safe and well inside and outside our library. Together, we can get through this, one mask at a time!