A Message from the Library Director
On behalf of the entire staff, Boards of Trustees, Friends of the Libraries, and volunteers of the Athens Regional Library System, I would like to thank our many concerned patrons and friends for your years of support to your library and your patience during this last difficult week.
The safety and health of our staff, the community, and our community partners led us to the difficult decision to close the libraries to patron use on March 15, 2020. We wrestled with that decision because we are aware of the vital role our libraries play in the well-being of our community and because we wanted to limit the disruption to our patrons’ lives. We first thought we would cancel all library programs and meeting room use and offer instructions to staff and patrons regarding proper hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and social distancing. We soon recognized that those limited actions would not be enough to assist our various county officials in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and “flattening the curve”. It was then that we made the decision to close the libraries to the public.
Until further notice, we are requesting that no materials be returned, and no donations made while the libraries are closed. Of course, there will be no fines accrued during this time.
On a positive note, since closing, our teams have been teleworking to bring some sense of normalcy to the community by increasing our libraries’ virtual presence.
- Our Children’s Services staff have been created a schedule for virtual Storytimes, which will be conducted every weekday Monday through Friday at 10:30. Children will have the opportunity to see their favorite librarians from around our region tell stories.
- A series of craft programs for children is also in the development stage.
- Our Information Services staff and web team have been working to create and publish a trusted list of COVID-19 resources that can be found on our website.
- We are working with our partners at Galileo to offer “Ancestry” from your home.
- We are testing “reference chat” so that patrons can text in with their questions.
- We are planning to have an FAQ regarding our libraries’ services and updates.
- Our collections and materials selection teams have been ordering additional electronic books, electronic audiobooks, and electronic magazines (increasing our holdings by 80 percent).
- We are exploring the creation of tutorials on tech tips such as how to use RBDigital, EReadsKids and more.
We have no way of knowing how long this situation will last, but we want you all to know that we are still here virtually to serve and support you, your families, and our communities until the time comes to open our doors again. I plan to regularly update you on library services as they roll out. Please connect with your local libraries on social media for more frequent communications and updates.
In the meantime, please be safe, follow the instructions of your local government, and know that we will all get through this together.