Last March, a tiny virus made it abundantly clear just how connected we really are. Leave it to a pandemic to both isolate and bring a community together. Eliot may be small, but it is full of big-hearted people doing what they can for one another in such challenging times.
Though our normal patterns of community life were completely upended, this experience has forced us to create new ways of being in community with one another. The library is no different. We were forced to temporarily close our doors to the public from March through May, but were able to reopen for curbside pick-up appointments at the beginning of June. Shortly after, we opened our doors to the public with safety protocols in place (masks, hand sanitizer, and a limited number of people). Our generous community even raised the funds for a book sterilizing machine in two days flat! The last few months have been an exploration in how to continue serving the families of this town in new and creative ways.
Miss Maureen put her film school degree to good use, turning out high-quality and engaging recorded storytimes for the preschool crowd each week for the past 8 months. There are currently 28 episodes up on the Kent Room WFL YouTube channel, each around 45 minutes long. Miss Laurel’s 4-year old daughter LOVES Miss Maureen’s storytimes and knows a ridiculous amount of sign language as a result.
Miss Maureen also hosts a Facebook Live storytime every Tuesday at 1:30. The books and songs differ from her recorded storytimes, and if you don’t happen to catch her live, the recordings appear on the William Fogg Facebook page to view at your leisure.
Though indoor storytimes are still on hiatus, pop-up outdoor storytimes are continuing all winter long with Miss Laurel. The day of the week is announced each Saturday, weather-depending, always at 11:30 AM. Families spread out on the lawn (or snow), bundled up in their winter gear, for what has become a precious opportunity to see friends in person and maintain some sense of normalcy. We may be wearing masks and sticking to our own picnic blankets, but we’re still together, learning and laughing and show-and-telling. Since many families are home together, this has also become a beautiful intergenerational space, with siblings of various ages and grandparents often present. Families always leave with a craft to complete at home.
Miss Laurel is also hosting a storytime series on zoom every Wednesday at 3:30 called ‘How Kind!’ for young children and their caregivers. Each 6-week series explores 6 virtues (the things that make humans good humans) through stories, songs and simple activities designed for children and caregivers to do together. Strategies for bringing the virtues to life in your own family are also included. If you have your doubts about a zoom storytime, we encourage you to check it out! You would be surprised just how engaging and fun it can be.
Lastly, Miss Eliza has been busy creating book bundles and take-home craft kits to be picked up in person or requested with a curbside pick-up order. Available crafts are posted on Facebook weekly.
It has been an absolute pleasure serving the families of this town over the last few months and we look forward to meeting more of you. Please know that we welcome any and all suggestions for family programming. Check out the ‘Events’ page to find out what is going on each week. Subscribe to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a weekly Kent Room schedule, zoom links, and any last minute changes.
Miss Maureen, Miss Laurel, and Miss Eliza