Library continues to provide services during the pandemic | News
The Daviess County Public Library remains open to all members of the community, offering a wealth of products and services to enjoy. To do this, DCPL staff have been forced to adapt in many ways to the era of COVID-19.
The library at 2020 Frederica St. closed for about six weeks at the start of the pandemic, but has remained open to the public since May 2020.
Erin Waller, library manager, said Tuesday that unlike other institutions in Daviess County, the library needed to make some changes if it was to continue providing services to patrons.
“Of course, my main concern was to keep my staff and our patronage safe, while being able to meet the needs of the public at this time,” Waller said.
One of the ways the library has been able to do this is by increasing virtual programming and entertainment.
“People were in quarantine with children and needed material to entertain, enrich and encourage each other, so I thought it was important that we increase our digital collection and online programming to provide that. “, she said.
With attendance ranging from the youngest local residents to the elderly, programming for children and adults has been tailored to be enjoyed virtually rather than in person.
Taryn Norris, youth services librarian, said one of the things the library initially did for families was to offer take-home craft kits.
“Families could come here and pick them up, they could even use our curbside service so they don’t have to come to the library to take things home,” Norris said. “We always offer that.”
While the idea of offering curbside pickup service had been in the works for a few years, the pandemic propelled it to the forefront of new library services in 2020. Waller said the service is now permanent. .
“Additionally, as students were doing a virtual school, we felt it was important to reopen as soon as it was safe, to provide a venue with amenities and Wi-Fi for the needs of students,” she said.
Lisa Maiden, the library’s adult programming coordinator, said she had an easier time transitioning to virtual programming for DCPL’s adult patrons.
“Adult programming has been able to go fully virtual much more easily than children’s programming, because adult programming is either crafters or presenters, and all of that can be easily translated to a virtual platform,” Maiden said. . “Even when I have programs in person now, I at least try to have them on our Facebook page, and they stay there forever and they can go back and watch as they please.”
Waller said the library has seen a “minor decrease” in the number of people walking through its doors compared to before the pandemic. However, that number has increased from this time last year.
“Circulation of physical material is also slightly lower, although we have seen an increase in the circulation of digital material,” Waller said.
As for maintaining health and safety protocols, Waller said staff members have worked to keep the library clean and sanitized. Perspex partitions have been installed and staff members wear masks when interacting with the public. The library is replacing its fabric-covered seats with vinyl upholsteries so they can be cleaned more efficiently.
Waller said personnel and funding sources have remained constant throughout the pandemic and no cuts have been made in those areas.
As for what 2022 brings to DCPL, Waller said they are taking it one step at a time.
“Right now the focus is back on safety, with the increase in cases in our area,” she said. “We are struggling to keep staff healthy and hope we can keep staff levels at one place to keep our regular hours.
“I’m optimistic about this, but please know that we have leeway and alternative options in case this happens.”
Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, [email protected], 270-228-2837