What Franklin County’s libraries are doing during the pandemic

  • Greenfield Public Library’s Pop-Up Library during the Greenfield Winter Farmers Market on Saturday at the Discovery School at Four Corners. STAFF FILE PHOTO

For the Recorder
Published: 5/1/2020 2:11:11 PM

Franklin County’s libraries have been closed to the public since mid-March due to the pandemic, but the librarians have been hard at work staying connected with patrons and getting things ready to re-open.

Here at the Greenfield Public Library, we have been keeping busy ordering materials so that we will have a wide variety of new things for our patrons to read, listen to and watch once we reopen, and we have been rearranging both the furniture and our back stacks to help keep everyone safe and healthy once we are open again. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook pages for pictures as we get closer to that time.

To help our patrons during this unprecedented time, we have been updating our Facebook page several times a day with information about resources, tutorials on our online offerings and humor to lighten your days. We are also available by phone (call and leave us a message) or email (librarian@greenfieldpubliclibrary.org) to answer questions or assist with technical issues.

We have also started some new initiatives. For the first time, we have a blog, which can be found on our website and includes articles about trends in online resources and interviews with library staff members, among other things. We are also starting an online book discussion group where members can talk about what they are reading right now. The first virtual meeting will be Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m., with a plan to hold sessions every other week and sessions during the daytime on the opposite weeks.

In addition, the Greenfield library is conducting its first ever Community History Project in response to the 2020 worldwide Coronavirus Pandemic. The program’s goal is to create a public collection of experiences that people in the future will be able to use to help understand this remarkable time. The project is ongoing, and we hope to hear from a wide variety of responders.


Other county libraries are focusing on different activities:

Montague has been offering online Story Times with Miss Angela Wednesdays at 10 a.m. on the Montague Public Libraries’ YouTube channel, which can be found at: youtube.com/channel/UCE4xh577QaL8UAjZrOjc1xA/playlists. The library has also been presenting Music & Movement Online with Tom & Laurie Thursdays at 10 a.m. on the event’s Facebook page titled “Tom & Laurie.” Coming soon, there will be how-to videos with step-by-step instruction on accessing your library account, downloading OverDrive, accessing ebooks and audiobooks and more. All these can be found at their website: montaguepubliclibraries.org.

The Arms Library in Shelburne Falls has been doing more low-key projects: Working with Shelburne's Emergency Task Force as an information center, weeding, working on new signage, strategic planning and summer reading program planning (how to do it virtually, if needed).

Erving’s library has been working on myriad of tasks including reading reviews and placing orders to be shipped when the library reopens, learning new software, editing the library's web page, implementing new online services, posting relevant information every day on the library's Facebook pages, keeping in touch with patrons through email and setting up performers for virtual performance and tentative dates when they are able to resume regular service.

The Cushman Library in Bernardston has been maintaining its virtual library on Facebook, transforming its Summer Reading program into a digital version and building a new website.

In Conway, the Field Memorial Library staff are cultivating virtual resources as much as possible by extending the library’s wi-fi so it is more accessible from outside the building and by elaborating resources curated for the community on their library website. Examples include interviews and talks with “Braiding Sweetgrass” author Robin Wall Kimmerer. “Braiding Sweetgrass” is the centerpiece of the Libraries in the Woods project and although nearly all events have been canceled, many online resources and comments also are available through the project's Facebook page at facebook.com/librariesinthewoods

One thing we are all looking forward to is the time when we can see all of our patrons again in person. Until then, please know your librarians are working hard for you behind the scenes. Stay safe.

Lisa Prolman is the assistant library director of the Greenfield Public Library.


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