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Boonslick Library keeps moving forward despite pandemic

Charles Dunlap
cdunlap@gatehousemedia.com

While the Boonslick Regional LIbrary branch in Boonville remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pademic, that is not stopping library staff from continuing to provide services and programming to the public.

“We have had a lot of things change because of the pandemic,” Branch Supervisor Cathy Birk said. “I guess the biggest thing our summer reading program we started doing virtual.”

That program had more than 50 youth readers to participate. Materials and books were provided over the summer via a pick-up location in the library’s foyer.

“They logged their [reading] hours through the website we used, the software we used,” Birk said.

Participants received special prizes based on the numbers of hours logged. All of the programming was done virtually, with videos posted to the library’s YouTube channel.

Library staff already are prepared for fall. The fall story times start the week of Oct. 14 and will run through Dec. 16. Story times will be done via Zoom instead of YouTube. Patrons should call the library at 660-827-7323, option 1, for more information.

“Branches have divided up how many each one are going to do and then we will do those on Zoom,” Birk said.

A program already taking place is Library Yarns. This is for anyone doing projects with yarn, or other fibers, such as needlepoint or weaving.

“Right now it is a group of ladies. We would love to have guys that are interested as well,” Birk said.

This group is meeting via Zoom as well. Those interested should contact the library for log-in information. The group meets 10 a.m. on Mondays.

Any sort of Halloween celebration still is in the planning stages and nothing is finalized due to pandemic-related concerns.

“We are just kind of hanging out and waiting to see what is recommended by Cooper County Health Department,” Birk said.

Because of the pandemic, the library has sought new resources and added to others for digital materials, such as audiobooks, ebooks and streaming movies and music. The library also has worked with its IT department to extend the range of its Wi-Fi service, so patrons can use it from the branch’s parking lot.

The library also has tablets available for use for one hour and Wi-Fi hotspots for one week. Those needing a tablet or hotspot should call the library to request one, which then can be picked up in the library foyer

Those needing to print materials can do so through the PrinterOn application. Print outs can be picked up in the foyer.

Of the digital resources, the library has access to Hoopla for music, movies, ebooks and audiobooks, Kanopy for movies and documentaries, Missouri Libraries 2 Go for ebooks, RB Digital for books, magazines and audiobooks and TumbleBooks, which are animated ebooks for children.

“We have tons of ways our patrons can access books if they would prefer ebooks to an actual paper copy,” Birk said.

Other online resources include CreativeBug and AtoZ Food America. CreativeBug is a crafting resource website accessed via a patron’s library card, while AtoZ is full of recipes.

Book drops are open. Any returned materials are quarantined for three days before being put back into circulation.

“When our patrons need new books, they either call us and tell us what they are looking at,” Birk said.

Library staff collect the requested materials and then call the patron back to arrange a pick-up time at the branch foyer.

“We want to be open, we want to see our patrons again [but for now] we feel providing the books and materials in the entryway — they still have access to reading materials and any of the other things we have,” Birk said. “We are doing the best we possibly can to keep everyone safe.”