Dear Library Friends,
I hope everyone is staying safe at home and using this time to connect with each other and your library.
Virtually everything we have in our building, we also have available through our website. You can get a library card; check out digital books, films, music and magazines; and attend a storytime or book discussion. You can also communicate with our expert librarians, who are answering questions and providing information by email and text 785-322-4099 from home Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. They’re also happy to help you if you’re new to the digital world and need help downloading that first ebook, film or e-audiobook. Contact information is in this newsletter.
We miss seeing you and having the interactions that can only happen in person. We understand that for many of us, nothing replaces a physical book and the experience of holding it and turning the pages, or checking out a film and slipping it into the DVD player. Closing the library building, putting the bookmobiles in the garage, canceling visits to our Red Carpet customers in retirement communities and to our home-bound customers goes against everything we believe in as librarians and community leaders, but there’s another side to this.
The library’s first priority must be to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to help protect our staff and community members. We’re doing that by listening to and abiding by the orders of our local and state public health officials. That’s why we’ve also stopped handling books and other materials until we can confirm if and how the virus might be transmitted via books; and if that’s the case, how we can disinfect them with no risk to library staff or customers. Once we know more and have the green light from our Shawnee County Health Department on being out in the community, we’ll get physical books, etc. moving again.
We are also thinking about the effects of the virus on many businesses and people in our community and how we can help. Many people are applying for unemployment and will be job hunting. For now, we can provide assistance by text, chat, and email. Once we can re-open the library, we’ll have computers available for anyone to fill out a job application, write a resume or make application for much needed governmental services.
Parents, you’ve always been your children’s first and best teachers, but you’re being challenged to take on the role of a Teacher with a capital T. We are all gaining even more respect for professional teachers and the expertise and passion they bring to educating our children. The library can’t replace their expertise, but we do have resources that will help you and your children with at-home learning and school assignments. We also have wonderful resources for preschoolers that are fun and help them prepare for kindergarten. It’s all at your fingertips online.
If you haven’t yet joined the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library family, please get a card today! It’s fast and easy. If you have a card, use it. Please encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.
We will get through this challenging time if we work together.
Stay healthy and use your library. We’re here for you!
Chief Executive Officer