Willard Library's leadership announced at an all-staff meeting the closing of both buildings to staff and public just nine days ago, but already it feels like a dream.
I can picture us spread around the room — physically distanced — talking in broad terms about what life would be like working from home.
Although our physical buildings were closed, we knew right away that library services would continue. We have a ton of materials — ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, TV shows — still available for download; we're still answering the phone and providing the reference support we always do, and we knew that we wanted to make virtual programming available.
We estimated that librarians would work a few hours a day from home. We really were dreaming.
Turns out that staying on top of the evolving needs of our community in the age of physical distancing is no less demanding than working a desk. People are putting in long hours and pushing the boundaries of what's possible, and we're still learning.
During the past week, my colleagues Tynisha Dungey and Alisha Daugherty unrolled a pair of story times streamed on Facebook at noon and 7 p.m. weekdays.
Last night, I debuted Stories at Sundown, a Facebook Live story time for adults. Tune in at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Today, we'll have our first Facebook Live yoga class, Yoga Flow with Meghan Luchies, at 6 p.m. And you will be seeing more of the same over the coming days.
The entire staff has been contributing to a list of free resources, updated at least daily, designed to help people find information and activities that will get them through this trial.
Included in these resources are some links to guidance on coping — meditation guides, yoga classes, advice on managing fear and anxiety.
I've been proud of how my colleagues have stepped up — and how a lot of people have stepped up around the community. Comb through that resource lists and you'll find myriad ways that local residents have come together — virtually — to help their neighbors weather the crisis.
Living under the threat of a potentially deadly virus is scary enough, but doing it alone takes its own toll. We need each other, now more than ever. One of our goals at Willard Library is helping people make those connections.
We do that by curating and delivering information while we hold up the work of our neighbors doing what they do best: build community. And that's no dream; it's reality.
Mac is reading "Borne" by Jeff VanderMeer, "C.W. Post: The Hour and the Man" by Nettie Leitch Major, and the Ransom series by C.S. Lewis.