Several people may be wondering what's been going on at the library since we've been closed down. I'll tell you, it hasn't been easy. The end of March and all through April, called for the staff to work from home as much as we could and then only come in to the physical library if we needed too. This meant all programs: story-time, craft day, science day, painting class, game night, etc. Went strictly online, and that's hard to do. A good chunk of our monthly programs couldn't be done virtually. Our in-person staff schedules were staggered so to minimize the risk of getting sick, and it wasn't until May 11th when we all came back and made plans for curbside services. That was quite the adjustment. We set up curbside and we are making way for reopening further, however we want to do so safely, and protect both our patrons and staff from getting sick. We'll see where this all takes us, but for now we ask everyone to be patient and enjoy the services that we can currently provide online and curbside.
With the shutdown it's made summer reading a big "what are we going to do now?" Not everyone realizes that planning for Summer Reading often begins in January. At least that's the case for me (Rachel - Teen/Adult Librarian). This is my 4th year working for the Coffeyville Library and I got to say it's been a challenge. When we closed down in March, we were hopeful that the shutdown would be finished by May and then could have Summer Reading like normal. Well, here we are coming up on June and many states are only partially reopening (if that) by this point. With that in mind, we had to throw out all of our summer reading programs for June and come up with virtual programs instead. We ended up meeting with the Southeast Kansas Library System and brainstormed ideas. Since we're still uncertain about things, we've prepared virtual programs for July also, but we are hopeful that we can at least have a couple of in-person programs by then.
I suppose this is a blessing in disguise. It did force me to think more about an online presence for the library and virtual activities that we can bring to our patrons. However, I would never want to go fully online with our services or programs. Some patrons may prefer the virtual services, but others may not have access to those services or prefer in-person. And that's what libraries are all about, providing access to everyone and meeting people where they are at. While I ponder this, I am sad for our Children's Librarian, Bethany. This is her first year for summer reading, and likewise all of her programs were turned on their heads. She and I are excited for our virtual programs, but with this year's theme "Imagine Your Story" we had many exciting ideas surrounding fairytales, folk lore, and more. We are also hopeful that things can return to normal soon, and that we can provide some in-person activities in July (we hope right? We'll see as we get closer to July).
One of the virtual programs I've come up with is a digital escape room. Now, I've done an escape room each summer that I've been here and they've always been a hit. Hopefully I can set up the physical escape room sometime in July, but I think this digital one turned out pretty well. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I did impress myself with it (lol). I made it as kid friendly as possible, so kids as young as 8-9 can try to figure it out. I do recommend a parent or guardian to be available to help in case they get stuck. But all of the people I had test it, said they enjoyed it and that it wasn't too difficult (but then again they were adults... We'll see). However, I did intend for it to be for all ages too, so if you're an adult and want to try it out, I highly encourage you to play too. I based it loosely on the story of Hansel & Gretel, and made it using Google Forms. What's great is it ended up having 7 different endings that players can find. I've provided the link below for anyone who wants to play, let me know how you did and if you liked it!
We will continue to keep you updated with our virtual programs and any new developments in regards to reopening. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive, have a wonderful day, and wash your hands.