Library meeting coronavirus challenges

Over the course of the pandemic, many community service organizations have been forced to change the way they engage with the public.

Ever-changing public safety measures have closed, opened, and re-closed doors in the interest of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

While adjusting practices hasn’t been easy, some groups have risen to the occasion.

One such organization, the Bartholomew County Public Library, has gone above and beyond to keep the public connected to its many services.

BCPL has continued to provide curbside pickup — and delivery to those that need it — on top of offering a large digital library of books, magazines, music, videos, and eLearning tools.

Additionally, rather than scrapping plans altogether for live events, dozens of interactive programs have been broadcast online to keep the public engaged.

The library’s most recent idea to better serve the community, and keeping families engaged, might be its best yet.

Soon after BCPL decided to re-close its doors to the public on Nov. 20, staff came up with a unique idea. The library is now offering Book Boxes for teens and Box Bundles for children and adults.

The library’s teen Book Boxes are similar to OwlCrate and LootCrate, but have no fees. The box, delivered monthly, contains one to two library books and items such as crafts, bookmarks and other items.

Similarly, Book Bundles consist of five to 10 items, books, audiobooks, large-print and more.

Librarians pick out the materials based on reading preferences, and for kids, based on preferences and reading levels, after receiving a filled out form on the library’s website,

The boxes will encourage literacy for all ages, and should be a big hit this winter.

The library provides essential educational services to the community for kids and adults alike. It helps bridge the gap between all social and economic classes, providing the tools to help make the community a better place.

Not all libraries have the resources and staff to provide such extensive services. The community is lucky to have a library like BCPL.