When I think of a word to describe this past week, the first one that comes to mind is joyful. It was wonderful to be at so many libraries connecting with folks during their first visit inside a library after more than a year! I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing all of you milling around and interacting with Library staff in-person. I could see your smiling eyes and hear it in your voices behind your masks. Some of you thanked us for being open for Front Door Service during the past year and some of you were just thankful to be feeling one step closer to normal again. I don’t think I have smiled as much as I did last week in more than a year. I visited nine libraries last week and enjoyed each one. The look of a library, the atmosphere, and the ability to browse for books are all integral parts of the experience for me. In case you’re interested, here is a sampling of some of the great books I discovered while browsing: Grab & Go First Week Haul.
Each of our libraries has been modified so that it is safe for you and library staff to interact without worry. There is plenty of room for social distancing and plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes freely available. However, I know many people are not yet ready to return to the Library and that is completely understandable. Please be assured that we will continue to support our online resources and those of you who are using them.
Last Monday California State Librarian Greg Lucas came down from Sacramento to celebrate our first day of Grab & Go at the Concord and Hercules libraries. He talked about the importance of getting libraries throughout the state open to the public and said, “Libraries have been open throughout the pandemic, but patrons have had to enter through the digital door. Opening the doors to the public allows the coolest parts of the libraries to be accessible again. Patrons can interact with library staff, browse for books, and use all the services they have missed.” We are honored that Greg was able to be with us and appreciate the State Library’s support of public libraries in California.
I look forward to visiting more libraries in the weeks to come and hope to see you there.