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Bookend: The New Normal

July 1, 2020

As communities struggle to contain COVID-19, their libraries ask: What do regular services look like in uncertain times?

Some of our favorite examples of libraries meeting this challenge in creative ways, clockwise from top left:

  • Michelle L. Johnson, cataloging technician at Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library, passes books through a drive-through window. The library averaged 50 pickups per day following the expiration of state stay-at-home orders May 18.
  • Delray Beach (Fla.) Public Library staffers, wearing masks and face shields, welcomed users back on May 21 to a partially reopened building. Stacks were closed, a limited number of computers were available, and each visitor could stay an hour.
  • Pottsboro Area (Tex.) Library adapted its e-sports program to a distanced drive-in format. At a March event, Mario Kart was projected onto the side of a trailer, and staffers ran sanitized Nintendo Switch controllers out to cars.
  • Tina Chenoweth, young adult services manager at Baxter-Patrick James Island Library in Charleston, South Carolina, created a virtual branch in the videogame Animal Crossing: New Horizons, complete with makerspace and teen room.

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