By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Residents may now enter the library to select materials to check out, but extended stays are discouraged, Library Director Nicole Kessler said during the online Feb. 1 City Council meeting.
“I am happy to report the library has reopened to the public, but in a very limited capacity,” she said. “A lot of libraries in our network are calling it ‘grab-and-go,’ so, basically, you can come in and browse for books and then check out, but currently we don’t have seating for the public so that they can stay in the building and read.”
Kessler said three computers are available for patrons, with chairs, with a 15-minute time limit, strictly for printing documents, with the equipment sanitized between different users.
“We have had a lot of patrons that were eager for us to reopen, but we are still providing curbside delivery for the people that do not feel comfortable coming in to pick up their books,” she said.
Kessler said the library has seen a dramatic rise in e-book usage.
“It has more than doubled in the last year, and throughout the library network, for the first time this past year, there has been more than a million checkouts for the e-books,” she said. “It’s really taken off.”
Kessler said that since they haven’t been able to provide in-person programing, they are offering Creativebug through the library website, at creativebug.com/lib/lincolnpark, which offers online art and craft classes, taught by designers and artists, with a library card number and personal identification number required for access.
“Patrons can access a variety of craft and art programs that they can do from home, since we are not able to provide any in-house programming at the moment,” she said.
Kessler said the library staff is in the planning stage for the summer reading program “Tails and Tales,” a collaborative summer library program from the National Library Association.
“It is going to be themed around animals, and we have plenty of animal-themed books in the library,” she said. “Our programing is going to be geared toward virtual programing, that can be accessed through Zoom or Facebook Live, since we are not sure yet how many will be able to gather.”
She said children will be able to track the books they have read from the library’s website, and said there will be many virtual games and programs available.
Mayor Thomas Karnes thanked the library staff for “making the best of a bad situation.”
For more information, go to lincoln-parklibrary.org.