Exeter Community Library gets creative to serve the community


Covid-19 has confined people to their homes, closed doors and killed far too many people in the United States and around the world, but it can’t do one thing – stop community programming at the Exeter Community Library.

This is not to say that the ECL programming has not changed. Indeed, he has. He had to. Community programming, in which local residents are normally encouraged to spend time together celebrating authors, writing letters, and spending time creating, among other activities, simply has no place in the post-Covid norm. which is 2020. There are unique challenges. for community programming when residents are physically unable to meet in person, but the library has taken a creative path with its fall programming in the hopes of bringing smiles to patrons.

While adults feel the disappointment of the constant postponements and cancellations, children’s lives have been just as much, if not more, and children are less likely to understand the “why” behind the sudden changes. Families with children too young to attend school often relied on library story time and crafts to keep their children engaged and active. When the library closed its doors to customers in March, they weren’t expecting the closure to continue for that long, but without a safe plan to reopen, the doors must remain closed. As a result, the library staff became resourceful with ways to implement programs for children and adults.

Children’s Librarian Laura Kauffman and Youth Services Librarian Laura Carson have worked to schedule weekly and monthly programs that families and children can attend at home, and craft kits that can be picked up by the roadside. Street. On Tuesdays, Carson hosts Baby Lapsits, a story time designed for children from birth to eighteen months, while Kauffman hosts story time for toddlers through preschoolers on Thursday mornings. – all via Zoom.

In addition, the two children’s librarians have organized family book clubs through Zoom, most recently with award-winning local author Amy Sarig King, who attended the Zoom meeting to answer questions and chat with families who attended. read his book over the past month. Librarians look forward to programming fall activities, although face-to-face contact is out of the question for the foreseeable future. Kauffman and Carson, or “the Lauras,” as they are affectionately known in the library, curated monthly craft and book kits for kindergarten through sixth graders, teenage book boxes for teens. grade seven and up (as the distribution site for the Berks County Public Library’s TBD program) and weekly book packages where tutors provide information on topics of interest to their children and librarians choose a handful of books for each child for Saturday street curb delivery.

Laura Kauffman says, “Our job is to help parents by putting the tools they need in their hands so they can help their children succeed and their families thrive. Parents don’t have thirty minutes to plan their classes, research ten books on a particular topic, or rummage in closets for craft supplies. They are already juggling their own jobs, schooling and caring for their children, maintaining a home and more. By picking up the prepared materials from the library, we did all the homework for them.

“And when a parent needs help explaining to their children what is going on in the world around them, the library can provide all of that information, regardless of the socio-economic status of the family. The library is there, providing resources, and more importantly, the library is free for everyone – always, ”adds Kauffman.

On the adult side of the lineup, the monthly book club meetings are set to resume on Oct. 21 with a Zoom on The Book Thief discussion by Marcus Zusak, and executive director Mallory Hoffman says the library plans to pursue more events soon. online for adults, including monthly letter writing for adult book sets and the distribution of free coloring supplies for “at home” coloring nights.

Covid-19 has prevented the library from its normal fundraisers, such as the biannual sale of books and pastries. As a result, the Friends of the Exeter Community Library are holding a mini-book sale (no baked goods) outside in the library’s side parking lot on October 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rainy date). October 24). The sale will include fiction, thrillers, DVDs and puzzles. Masks are mandatory and the library asks participants to practice social distancing.

In addition to programming, the Exeter Community Library is open for curbside pickup for orders placed online, by phone, or by email, and customers can request books, movies or music from n anywhere in the Berks County Public Library system. Mallory Hoffman says the library hopes to be open to browsing by appointment in the next few months, but the date has yet to be officially confirmed.

The library also continued its partnership with the Reading / Berks County Jewish Federation and Sinking Spring Public Library for a second season of Literatour Berks, a community celebration featuring Berks County writers, celebrities and cultural influencers. . Literatour Berks events will remain virtual throughout the 2020-2021 season. For a full list of 2020-2021 events and to register, visit the Literatour Berks website at www.readingjewishcommunity.org/home/literatour.

The Exeter Community Library aims to serve the community as a center of learning, accessible recreation, practical tools and hundreds of free programs designed for children and adults to participate throughout the year. . For more information on any of the programs listed above or for opening hours, visit www.berkscountylibraries.org/exeter. The library also encourages visits to its Facebook page for regular updates, sweepstakes, information on upcoming outdoor book sales, Zoom login information for virtual programming, and more.

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