Area libraries are finding new ways to serve the community amidst a pandemic that brings new challenges every day.
Ashtabula County District libraries in Ashtabula and Geneva have opened to the public and are scheduling limited activities, said Rebecca Moisio, marketing and community relations representative for the library. She said the libraries have come back strong with hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. At-risk patrons are able to come to the library from 9 a.m to 10 a.m.
She said all normal options of the library are open except large-group activities. Moisio said the libraries are trying to have appropriate small-group programs when able and rooms are available for public use for gatherings of 10 people or less.
A small after-school program at the Geneva Public Library has started with limited students. Tina Conrad, youth services coordinator, is running a cooking class with three students at a time.
“This will help them in college,” she said.
Maddie Manupella, an 8th grader at Geneva Middle School, said she was excited to be back at the library.
“I just missed being here. It is fun. Everyone is so nice, it is a really good experience,” she said.
Ryan Whelpley, director of the Geneva Public Library, said those attending have to sign up ahead of time.
“It is a real fine balance to have our people back, but not too many people,” he said.
The Grand Valley Public Library reopened in early July and is trying to go the extra mile to help patrons, said director Cheryl Selby. She said people have been very thankful that the library is open and are sticking to the rules of social distancing and wearing masks.
Selby said the library started out with curbside delivery, but is now open. She said people can call and get curbside service if they are more comfortable with that option.
The staff at the Conneaut Public Library has put their energies to working with curbside customers and online options. She said it is hard to have the impact on large numbers of children that is normally a summer reality, said executive director Kathy Zappitello.
“Normally our summer reading program was a sight to behold. We reach 1,000 people,” she said of a normal year. The program went online this year.
The library is gearing up for a Sept. 14 opening of the building to patrons.
Zappitello said the cooperative relationship with Conneaut High School to develop electronic capabilities at the high school has paid huge dividends. She urges everyone in Ashtabula County, from young children to senior citizens, to get a library card.
Zappitello said the library is an institution that constantly has to change and this time period is no different.
“A library is a bridge so you won’t get left behind,” she said.