Commentary: Things you can still do at the library

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Today I had planned to write about how the modern library is not a quiet place. How instead today’s libraries are a boisterous hub of activity—where all ages are encouraged to gather, share ideas, work collaboratively, be the community’s living room and stave off social isolation. Sure, we try to meet all needs including those looking for quiet spaces (which the Southington Public Library currently does not offer. Hopefully, the Southington Public Library of the future will), but total silence is not the expectation for the modern library.

Of course this week the Southington Library, like many local and national libraries, was quiet. There were no children gleefully playing, tutors meeting, friends knitting. We are all practicing social distancing. We are putting our health and the health of family, friends, and neighbors first. Our doors closed to the public at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16 and will remain so until at least Monday, March 30.

I am amazed at the outpouring of support—from my own extended family, planning weekly meals over FaceTime, to the hundreds of posts I see online offering to brave grocery stores for elderly or at-risk neighbors, to the many cultural institutions offering virtual field trips or other daily insights into their collections.

Right now, library staff is still reporting to work. They are helping to set up e-resource cards for Southington residents who don’t have a library card and now need one, to promote virtual services such as Story-Time on the Go with Miss Molly, and even curbside hold pickup. This could change any day, and the library could always be closed longer.

E-newsletters to provide updates and share great resources to use from home are being sent daily. If you are not currently signed up, you can do so at www.southingtonlibrary.org or by texting SPL to 22828.

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Community is still important, and the library is still the hub of the community. We may not be able to gather, but we are still here to offer support and resources. Take this opportunity to try a class on Creativebug. Use TumbleBooks for more reading material with your kids. Learn a new language with Mango. Disappear into a fantasy world with a new book from Libby or Hoopla.

And if you have questions about any of these services, just give us a call at 860-628-0947 or email us at southingtonpubliclibrary@southington.org.

Kristi Sadowski is the director of the Southington Public Library. To learn more, visit them at www.SouthingtonLibrary.org.