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Library launches two new programs

Will offer services geared toward the homebound, teens

By Olivia Murray 

In March  2020, the world was stunned and confused by the widespread nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Late March came, and the state of West Virginia — like many others in the country — went into governor-mandated quarantine. 

While the state is no longer subject to the previous  shutdown, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to directly affect many, especially elderly and immunocompromised individuals, forcing them to remain in their homes.

As the state continues to watch COVID-19 data and try to determine the best way to open schools this week, many believe online education is the safest way to educate youth during a pandemic.

That  brings another  issue to the table:  Reliable internet access.

The Morgantown Public Library is instituting two new programs that may provide solutions.

Since its primary shutdown in mid-March, the staff at the Morgantown Public Library has been collaboratively working to formulate a plan to reinstate the services  the library has to offer, and to ensure that Morgantown residents can safely access those services. The staff came up with two new programs: A homebound program and a teen program.

According to the Morgantown Public Library’s Marketing Manager Corina Chang, the intent of the homebound program is to “educate, serve and encourage without discrimination, through free, open and safe access to information and resources.” 

Chang acknowledged the difficulties faced by many Morgantown residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and said  the homebound program will “support individuals and families learning from home that cannot otherwise come to the library.” 

Chang added that social distancing guidelines will be enforced in the homebound program, highlighted by the program’s strictly “no-contact” delivery method.

Of the teen program, Chang said, “We wanted to combine the joy and anticipation of subscription boxes with the feeling of community in a book club.” For the rest of this year, the program will take place virtually to enforce social distancing measures.

“Teens will be able to meet others in a book discussion at the end of the month over Zoom, and also have chances to win prizes when they submit feedback on their subscription books,” Chang said.

The homebound program took requests until Friday for the first round of deliveries, which will occur Wednesday. The teen program’s registration is open through Tuesday, at which point subscription boxes will be sent out.

Interested parties can submit requests or sign up for the programs via the links provided below.

Chang anticipates  the homebound program will benefit all of Monongalia County by “[reaching] all Monongalia County residents, especially those from more vulnerable populations. For those that cannot come to the library, we hope we can at the very least try to bring a little bit of the library to them.” 

Chang also emphasized the importance of the impact that the Teen program will have on adolescents during their online school year. 

“With the uncertainty of the school year due to our current health crisis, we believe this program perfectly aligns with what teens can reasonably do at this time — read and learn at their own pace, all the while maintaining a sense of community among their peers,” Chang said.

The Morgantown Public Library’s new programs showcase the versatility of the local institution.

“We continue to look for new ways to reach people outside of the building,” said Director Sarah Palfrey.

Those interested in using the Morgantown Public Library’s Homebound or Teen program can submit requests through these links: 

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