Murray Library still in demand during pandemicAug 05, 2020 03:00PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Murray Library patrons keep coming as they use the curbside pickup service. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
How essential is a library during a pandemic quarantine? Very much so, if you are counting the number of viewers checking out Murray Library’s YouTube channel. While the library locked its doors back in March, demand for the library’s services has been consistent.
“We offer hold pickup service (no-contact curbside pickup), electronic resources (e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming movies and music), craft tutorials, language learning with Rosetta Stone, daily Facebook Live story times, and our digital Summer Learning Challenge,” Murray City Library Director Kim Fong said.
With the closure of schools and daycares, Murray Library has provided beleaguered parents a break by hosting a daily online story time to engage children.
“We started our StoryTube channel in 2013. It has changed over the years, but we have consistently provided online content for our viewers. Currently, we’ve seen an increase in views over the months since the pandemic forced us to close our doors,” Fong said. “We have a variety of programming on the channel, including crafts, science projects, magic tricks and, of course, stories.”
Library staff have come up with clever ways to make the presentation engaging. For instance, when the book of the day was “Hungry Jim” by Laurel Snyder, children were read to by Librarian Teresa McLeod dressed up in a lion costume, mirroring the book’s protagonist.
However, children’s books are generally quick reads so the library brought one of its most popular programs, “Wiggle Worms,” online. The library calls it “a lively program of stories, songs, shakers and parachutes for infants and toddlers up to 2.5 years of age and their families.”
During a recent “Wiggle Worms” broadcast on Facebook, Librarian Rebecca Mieure invited children to find their favorite stuffed animals and sing songs, such as “This is the Way We Say Hello” and “Bingo.”
Much like the rest of the pandemic world, the library has adapted its book checkout system to a take-out system. Patrons can visit the library’s website to place items on hold and receive a notification when their items are available.
They can then go to the library and pull into one of the hold pickup service stalls. A phone number posted on the parking stalls allows patrons to call or text a staff member dedicated solely to preparing the orders and taking them outside for patrons.
If people are unsure of what they would like, they can call the library’s main number (801-264-2580), and a librarian can assist them by recommending items and placing holds for them. Also, they have a “We Recommend” form on their website for people who would like to get more recommendations.
Adapting to the pandemic, the library has had to change its return policies. “When someone returns an item, we quarantine the item for at least three days to ensure that any possible contamination is gone before we handle it and make it available for others to check out. In the meantime, we are not charging overdue fines,” Fong said.
During the pandemic, children’s books have been the most checked-out item, with e-book users checking out adult fiction. The library is now making plans for the future.
“We plan to offer library services on an appointment-only basis when we reopen. We will begin by offering computer use by appointment and will continue to roll out services by reservation as the situation allows,” Fong said. “We don’t have a definite timeline and will monitor the pandemic situation before adding more services. In the meantime, we will continue with our current offerings, which allow patrons to place an increased number of holds and check out an increased number of items.”
In the meantime, the library plans to announce the winners of its Summer Learning Challenge. The program was opened up to readers of all ages. A prize will be given to all those who finish the program: a book.
Murray Library’s StoryTube can be found online at murraylibrary.org.