Public libraries adapt to COVID-19

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Public libraries all across San Joaquin County have faced major changes due to COVID-19 guidelines. Suzy Daveluy, interim director of the Stockton-San Joaquin Public Library’s Community Services Department, said the library experience is finding its way through the screens to children and families all across Stockton. 

Though the shift in focus was large, especially for library staff that are used to years of in-person connections, they adjusted to the virtual approach. 

“Our staff have adopted an array of new skills so we can still present storytimes and other programs in a virtual setting,” said Daveluy.

The online library events are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Fridays at 10:30 a.m. These events include either live online storytimes, a DIY craft, and special features like a tour of the fire department or links to book clubs. 

Many library experiences — whether it is finding a quiet place to sit, browsing through countless books or using the many services public libraries have to offer — can not be mimicked through a screen. But this has not stopped community access to their books and services. 

In addition to virtual offerings, the library system has also introduced some take-home options.

“In an effort to still provide our community the books and resources they love, branches are offering ‘Curbside service @ your library lobby’ service so customers may pick up the library materials they requested or ask reference questions,” said Daveluy.

Community wellness is very important, and the Stockton-Public Library is ensuring its community members are following COVID-19 safety regulations with not only their virtual and curbside experiences, but as well ensuring products that are checked out are being safely handled.

“The library is following all recommended protocols such as physical distancing of 6 feet, requiring masks to utilize curbside service, and quarantining all returned materials for 96 hours,” said Daveluy.

Although it seems like recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic is taking some time, Daveluy is optimistic about the future of the traditional and priceless library experience.

“The future of libraries is bright! We continue to meld the new with the traditional, and it makes for incredible results. Libraries continue to evolve and find relevant places in our community members’ lives,” said Daveluy.
For more information and access to the virtual library events, visit the  Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library’s Facebook page.