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Opinion

Sugar Grove Public Library: Serving during the shelter-in-place order

The past two-ish months have certainly been a changing whirlwind with evolving information and directives. For a first few days it felt as if I had just written new procedures, and the backspace bar had to be used in order to repeatedly rewrite new ones.

Being closed during this time of need has been an assault on the librarian nature to serve our community, but a necessary one as though we are absolutely “essential” for the education, recreation and culture of our community we are not an emergency room or a first responder.

I think life defaulted back down the chain of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a bit, and the focus has to remain on the physiological and safety needs first before we return to belonging and actualization.

Our virtual services have been a saving grace for patrons hungry for content and resources. On our web page at sgpl.org you may click “E-Books and More” to access our apps to be utilized on a computer or other electronic devices. Tumblebooks are animated books including picture and chapter books for a variety of ages. Check our program calendar to see listings of online content we are producing or recommending. You can register for “virtual” book discussions and we won’t ask if it is coffee or an adult beverage in your cup as you sip and chat with other book lovers.

Our Facebook page has been loaded with fun activities to do at home such as a virtual Lego contest, postings of storytimes including Miss Naomi at home with her chickens. Very imperfect Facebook “live” streams have highlighted community announcements and information, and you are welcome to send us tidbits to be announced. While we know this doesn’t replace the face to face relationships with books or our staff, we are continually seeking ways to serve in our temporary “new normal.”

In our front vestibule our Little Free Pantry remains in action, and it is stocked about every other day. If you have extra to give, please drop something in the donation box. “Take what you need, leave what you can” is the guiding phrase of this little box that allows neighbors to help neighbors with dignity. Our Little Free Bookcart is replenished about every two days, and these materials are ones that are from our donations. Please do not fiddle with them, and just take titles without returning them in order to reduce the chance of germ transmission.

We anticipate reopening after the shelter in place order is lifted, but likely it will be a “graduated” opening and done in steps.  At this time due dates have been extended, however you may still drop returns in the bookdrops in case you are already out on an essential errand.

While we are all anxious to return to programming and events, likely there will be restrictions on gatherings for a time that is yet to be determined, and will be guided by both local Illinois information as well as best practices being formulated for libraries. As this is our first pandemic situation as a library, there are not perfect answers to give at this time. What I can stress is that we will do everything we can to do to serve our community in a safe manner, and redirect our efforts to what will be the greatest need.

Don’t hesitate to call and leave a voicemail at 630-466-4686 if you need help registering or renewing your library card, or need a reference staff member to call and walk you through download process or answer a question. We will return your call very shortly, and you may always e-mail a question in to social@sgpl.org or drop us a note on Facebook.

Shannon Halikias is the director of the Sugar Grove Public Library, a professor at College of DuPage and an instructor at Joliet Junior College. She is an active outdoor lover, local poet, and has two rowdy teen boys she loves to pieces. You can reach her at shannon@sgpl.org.

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