The Morgantown Public Library System has seen digital check outs rise since the start of its temporary library card program, while also coming up with other creative ways for people to read, including a partnership with the West Virginia Botanic Garden.
The library is also bringing more staff back to work and will start answering phones today, Director Sarah Palfrey said.
The library is moving forward cautiously and trying to find new ways to provide remote services, Palfrey said. New hours will be posted soon, and people can start returning material they’ve borrowed.
All items returned will be quarantined for 72 hours before librarians restock them.
That will slow things down, but it will also protect the staff and prevent items that were just in someone’s home from going to other people, Palfrey said.
While the library is working toward reopening, there’s no date set.
Meanwhile, 180 people signed up for a temporary digital library card in March, a slight increase from the 170 in April 2019.
That slight increase, or even staying on track, is a win right now, Palfrey said.
The temporary card program was started in March and the cards were set to expire June 1. However, they will now be good until Sept. 1.
To get a temporary card, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, phone number, email and mailing address.
Digital check-outs have massively increased since the library closed to the public, Palfrey said. Just one book provider had 2,000 more check-outs compared to the same time last year.
The library has also partnered with the WVBG to install a book trail. The pages for the book, “Tiny Perfect Things” have been blown up, laminated, put onto stakes and put around a trail at the WVBG. The exhibit will be available until the end of May, Palfrey said.
WVBG Executive Director Philip Smith said exhibits like this one enhance the garden experience and partnering with another nonprofit to help each others’ mission is a win-win.
“When they discover these exhibits, their whole experience is richer,” Smith said.
He add that it might lead the public to realize the WVBG is not a typical park, but a whole world to explore with different ways to experience it. In addition to simply being in nature, the garden features manicured areas, such as the viburnum collection near the parking lot, and arts and exhibits, like the one with the MPLS.
The MPLS will still hold its summer reading program, Palfrey said. There will be changes because of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, but it’s too early to announce them.