It’s been a year since our country began shutting its doors due to COVID-19. It was a year of unknowns, of stress, of financial burden, of questions, of uncertainty. Slowly, things have started to open up and cautiously we have faced the world around us. Of course, we also now have a face mask to match every outfit or holiday! But the question is, how has the library changed since the beginning of the year?

We get asked this question a lot and I would love to tell you more about what we can offer. First, our doors are open to walk in traffic. This means you can come in and browse the shelves, use the computer, or read the newspaper. You can come in to fax a document, scan to an email, use our notary service, get a library card, or sign up for a library program.

Inside the library, we do require face masks to be worn properly. This means it needs to cover both your nose and mouth. We also have patrons use hand sanitizer when they enter the building. And finally, you do have to check in at our Circulation desk and provide your first and last name. This check in process allows us to track the number of patrons inside our building and, as part of the COVID-19 notification, we require names in case we have to notify you of a positive case during your time in the building. This is all a safety precaution for both our staff and our community.

After you check in, you are good to browse the shelf, check out material, use the computer, use the Wi-Fi, sign up for a class, you name it! But, we understand some people are still nervous to enter our building. If that is the case for you, we do offer a new curbside option for checking out and returning library materials. Yes, just like a curbside meal pick up at your favorite restaurants, you can now pick up your library materials curbside. Think door dash but for books! Just give us a call to place your “order” at 785-238-4311.

We also offer many digital options for library materials! If you don’t want to come into the library and can’t take advantage of our curbside service, take your library card for a virtual adventure! Overdrive offers eBooks and audiobooks while Hoopla expands to offer movies, television, and music. I have to say, my Hoopla gets a lot of use during the holidays as I love checking our holiday music! There is truly something for everyone on both platforms! And the best part, it’s all free for you to use!

We do have programs available, although they are limited in person. We have virtual programs from our Young People’s Department, including story time, Explorer’s, and MORE! On the adult side, we some in-person opportunities including Book discussions, an upcoming Puzzle Class, how to use Canva, and more! Our take and makes are still happening and we also offer take and play, a small board game for couples (or besties) to enjoy. We also have a SHRED day coming up in May!

Something new in the library, in an effort to make vaccine registration easier for our community, we have also designated one computer for the registration process. The short registration survey is sent to the Geary County Health Department and they notify you when there is availability based on the phased distribution. The survey is HIPAA compliant. Anyone without computer access can come to the library to complete the survey or call the Health Department at 785-762-5788.

As our community starts to open its doors, cautiously of course, the library is always looking for ways to adapt and create services and programs for our community. If there’s a program, class, or service you would like more information about or would like the library to consider, we love feedback! Email us at jclibrary@jclib.org or call us at 785-238-4311. We can’t wait to see you, in all formats! We look forward to seeing you in our book discussion groups, enjoying a virtual story time program, browsing our shelves, in the car at curbside, or using one of our public computers. We love our community and hope you continue to use the library in the way that makes you comfortable.

Try something NEW!

1. Hoopla

2. Overdrive

3. Community Archives (Research newspapers and yearbooks!)

4. CURBSIDE!

5. Mango Languages (learn something new!)

DONNA PORTER is the Assistant Director at the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library.

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