It is December 31, 2020. A date that resonates with everyone right now because it's the last day of a year that most of us would never want to repeat. Living through a pandemic is not something that we ever thought we'd have to do. Our lives, our community, our country, our world...all of it was turned upside down through this past year. And those gathering places in our cities and towns...the cafes, restaurants, bars, stores, schools and yes, libraries, took a strong hit from the effects the pandemic dealt us. Suddenly, the places that brought communities together were becoming a threat to public health. It was stunning and heartbreaking. As we moved through the phases of mitigation we all had to learn to switch gears quickly and it was not easy. Here at Sturm Memorial Library we closed the physical building in March, April and May but we kept the library open in other ways and kept our connection to the community going. On the first day we were allowed to do so we had staff in the building offering curbside service. We moved to in person appointments as soon as we had safety protocols in place. We started online programming and offered a summer reading program in the only way we could. We opened up access to inside services a little more and were reassured by seeing familiar and new faces. With a dedicated board we developed policies to deal with the pandemic more effectively and we revised them and revised them and revised them again. All of the staff remained working and decided as a team that we would see the pandemic through to the other side in the hopes that the post Covid library would continue to be a gathering place much like it was pre-Covid.
Through all of the changes and uncertainty our patrons have remained steadfast. Adapting quickly to varying levels of access, dealing with the disappointments of limited services gracefully, recognizing that no one was alone in their uncertainty about things to come, our patrons have continued to let us serve them by using the library. There are trying times ahead - the pandemic is not over, the new year brings the same virus still trying to spread, still making our communities vulnerable. But there is some light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel. We don't know what the future is going to bring, but the library is still here, still serving, still being used and appreciated...and right now that's enough to get us through each day.
The new year brings hope but it's our resilience that will see us through it, through this. People are resilient, libraries are resilient, communities are resilient. Happy New Year.
Posted by Ellen on December 31, 2020