Orange County Register — North County News-Tribune; Date: May 21, 2020; Section: News; Page Number: A2
WHAT A DAY
The library is the cyber-place to be
How are you holding up, Placentia? It’s Day 6,000 of the quarantine—or seems that way. I have no idea what day, or month it is, and it’s okay. Most of the time, I don’t need to know.
All those home projects I swore I’d do when I had time are still not done. Instead, I’ve binge-watched “The Mandalorian,” started writing another book, and learned to take naps.
I’ll have to find some other excuse for why the linen closet isn’t organized.
Once a month, I have to attend a library board meeting, but they’re now being held using Zoom, an app I’d never heard of until this pandemic. It’s been an interesting transition, to see faces on the screen, get decisions made, and try not to talk over each other. I admit, I’m getting spoiled, being able to walk into my office and hold the meeting.
This is an embarrassing confession, because I live less than 5 minutes from the library.
A confession that doesn’t embarrass me is how proud I am of our library during this quarantine. They have been a beacon of information, unity, and hope for our community. I can say that, because the director and her staff are the people thinking of ingenious ways to help our patrons. I’m just the board member who approves their plans.
And I do approve.
Before the governor issued the stay-at-home orders, our director and staff were already taking precautions to ensure the safety of our patrons, as well as the employees. Gloves and masks were ordered, books were sanitized, and social distancing was implemented.
But they knew that wouldn’t be enough.
They developed a strategy for serving the public online. The library already boasts online access to ebooks, music, education, and more. The staff augmented that with online children’s programming, gaming for teens, and fun events for everyone. When the stay-at-home order came, they were ready.
But they knew that wouldn’t be enough, either.
They’re now presenting plans for how to re-open the library to the public and keep everyone safe and comfortable. As with the state’s plans, it will be a phased approach. The library is known as a safe haven for so many people, we’d like to keep it that way.
And through it all, our library director has been issuing a message regularly to give patrons access to the latest information about the virus, and the government’s response. In addition, she adds her personal touch—to remain calm, cherish your loved ones, and look for the light in the middle of this dark time.
When I watched our library crew come together and work through the renovation, I was inspired by how willing they were to stay committed to seeing the project to completion. Now, seeing them working from home, finding innovative ways to serve their patrons, and still showing up with smiles at Zoom staff meetings, I am in awe. Librarians are my superstars.
Some day we will put this pandemic in our memories as something we lived through. Perhaps there will be precautions we adopt permanently, either because we find them more efficient, or more of a deterrent to disease. We may not need so many meetings. Masks in public may make more sense. In any case, the library will be there to help.
If only they could help me organize that linen closet.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].