February is National Library Lover’s Month

By: Angie Haddock


February has a lot going on: Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl. Among the many causes to stop and reflect, February is also a time to celebrate a place dear to most readers: the library!

A local library in Nashville.

For many of us, the library has been a great place to find new books, or learn new things. I know that my library system has been closed to the public since March of last year, though. They offer curbside service only, which still allows me to get books and movies – but no browsing.

I asked two of my librarian friends what these past months have been like for them and their libraries.


Missy works for the Memphis Public Library, as a Librarian Assistant specializing in tween programming.

Q: Is your library currently open, closed, or something in between?:

A: We are open with limited capacity, shortened hours, rotating schedule, no in person programming or meetings.

One of Missy’s take-home crafts!

Q: How has your specific job been affected by the changes your library has had to institute this past year?:

A: I implemented a successful take home craft program across the library system with grant money that may continue post-COVID.

Q: What (job-related) thing are you most looking forward to when things return to being fully open?:

A: I am most looking forward to hopefully hosting my big Harry Potter Halloween bash that got cancelled. Other programs are special too, but I really want this one to happen this year.

Q: What’s something you’ve read this past year that you’d recommend?:

A: “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller and “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei. My recommendations aren’t entirely reflective of what I usually read, but I’d also like to shout out anything under the “Rick Riordan presents” banner.


Theresa works as an Adult Programming Clerk for a countywide library system in Ohio.

Q: Is your library currently open, closed, or something in between?:

A: Currently open–depending on whether or not our county has a stay-at-home order in place. No meetings or in person programming. When the buildings are closed to the public, we still have staff answering the phones, providing reference assistance, offering curbside or drive through pick ups, and we recently added individual laptop reservations–because so much of what the library provides now is computer and internet access, so someone could reserve a block of time to use a laptop in an enclosed meeting room for school work, job searches, meetings, etc.

Q: How has your specific job been affected by the changes your library has had to institute this past year?:

A: Because my department plans programming and author events for the entire county library system, it’s been a big shift from in-person programs to virtual. Last year there were several months of different teams trying to figure out the best platforms for different kinds of programming. Looking ahead, we’re planning to have a full schedule of programming for our spring season–but everything will be virtual for now. But it’s raised questions about how to provide equity and access for people who don’t have internet at home to participate. So many people use the library primarily as their sole source of computer and internet access. I think most libraries have worked on boosting their wi-fi signal so that when buildings are closed, people can at least access the internet from the parking lots any time of day.

Q: What (job-related) thing are you most looking forward to when things return to being fully open?:

A: I think it will be great to be able to host in-person programming again–there are some limitations to virtual that you’re never going to be able to overcome without being in the same room. But I also think virtual programming is here to stay in some form–although it limits some people, it opens opportunities up for others. There was one instance with someone who has a hearing disability and was not going to do a workshop any longer, but then realized that the virtual version of the workshop actually made the program more accessible because it was easier to hear the group conversation through speakers or earbuds. Everything we can’t do right now is frustrating, but I really think that what we’ve learned from adapting to COVID is going to bring more options to life in a post-COVID world.

Q: What’s something you’ve read this past year that you’d recommend?:

Read more N.K. Jemisin

A: NK Jemisin’s “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month” is a vivid collection of short stories that really shows her range–hard sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, historical, and a couple stories I can only describe as “culinary fantasy” (yeah, it’s gonna make you hungry).

And I’m in the middle of “The Overstory by Richard Powers right now. I feel like I was a little late to this one–everyone was talking about it 2 years ago, but no one could really describe it beyond saying something like, “It’s a novel about trees. I can’t explain it but it’s amazing.” It’s gut-punchingly emotional, and at the same time, makes me want to do everything I can in my little corner to save the world.


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One thought on “February is National Library Lover’s Month”

  1. Thanks for focusing on my favorite place and former 2nd home (workplace). Don’t forget about all the great online things available at many libraries even when the buildings are closed. I couldn’t live without the downloadable audiobooks and databases, not to mention the streaming services.
    Well, I could, but I’m so grateful I don’t have to. 💻📚📖

    Like

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