Library closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic?
The staff members at the South Pasadena Public Library have transformed every service into a virtual, contactless, digital or reimagined offering since the stay-at-home order was issued last March. They did this while remaining masked and complying with all other required public health protocols.
April 4-10 was National Library Week. The Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library (Friends) organization, however, is honoring the Library’s 31 employees during the entire month of April. The group’s board members are doing so to show their appreciation for the staff’s extraordinary service.
“The library has been closed to the public for a year,” said Sally Kilby, president of the Friends, “but its services continued and have even been expanded.”
She said that families and individuals needed the library during this time, “and the staff responded.”
They implemented Library Takeout. Community members have been able to order books and materials online. They are notified as soon as their request is ready. Materials are then picked up at the library’s front door at 1100 Oxley Street.
Story Times began to take place virtually. Staff members conducted the 2020 Summer Reading Program and Teen Volunteer Program virtually. They are preparing to do the same this summer, if County Public Health guidelines require it, according to Library Director Cathy Billings.
They introduced a new Library App, making it easy for the public to interact with the library by cell phone. They increased and promoted online offerings. Social media communication was enhanced. In addition, they removed a barrier to borrowing by implementing a no-fine policy for late returns.
They staged Zoom Author Sessions and a unique virtual tour of the Rialto Theatre.
Friends Board Members PJ Lutz and Linda D’Oro created a variety of ways to thank library personnel. They hung a banner in front of the library in recognition of National Library Week and to thank the staff.
D’Oro collected small items from other Friends’ board members to show the community’s appreciation.
On the first Monday of April, all 31 library employees received a personal thank-you card signed by the Friends’ president along with a gift card to a coffee shop. Each week, D’Oro drops off snacks and such items as office supplies and water bottles in the employee lunch room.
South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron Koertge created five reading-related haiku poems in honor of the staff.
Lutz penned a letter that is on display along with the treats. It noted that the last year has been challenging, but that the staff “handled it with such grace.” The last line read, “This month, as you enjoy the treats and tokens of our appreciation, please remember there is an entire town thinking of and thanking you.”
“The staff was touched by theses gestures of appreciation,” said Library Director at the April 8 meeting of the Library Board of Trustees.