As school begins to start each year, we always share what we did during the summer through our church libraries. The summer of 2020 will definitely limit what we have to share due to Covid-19. However, I have a hunch that many of you merely adjusted your plans. Please share!!

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  • In May-June a couple of our library staff wanted to offer jigsaw puzzles. This has been a big hit. Our 'kick-off' began with a 'community' puzzle set up on a large table in the library. (This was actually before the pandemic hit and church activities were normal.) Anyone could come into the library and put in a few pieces if they had a couple minutes to spare. Then, we started collecting puzzles. People would request them while being home so much during this pandemic. When they are returned they are placed in a large tote with the date they were returned. Then, after 14 days, they are again put into circulation.
  • Our Church filmed a Virtual Vacation Bible School on Facebook Live. A couple of weeks before we assembled supply bags and the Gideons handed out bibles at a drive through pick up site before the videos posted. It was a week long and each day the a video was posted of our teachers giving the Bible School lessons. The videos contained music, bible stories and crafts the kids to participate in at home.
  • Beginning in May, my church library has been hosting a weekly Book Chat via Zoom where we take turns telling about an inspiring book we have read. Now that some other church activities are picking up in the Fall, we will cut back to once or twice a month. While the church building is still mostly closed, I have also been offering curbside library service to leave books requested on the front porch of the library entrance for pickup. The online catalog is available for browsing. I also bring out the Reading Challenge cart to the front porch 30 minutes before and after the extra outdoor services on Sunday evenings. This reading challenge occurs all year long, and the 2020 theme is "Cultivating Community". We never imagined when picking this theme that it would be so much more of an effort to be in community this year!
    • How do you get people to use your online catalog and curbside services?
      • I have a "Library News" section in the Pastor's Email that goes out each week to everyone. It includes my contact information. When I focused on the curbside service, I included a link to the online catalog for browsing. That link is also on the library's page of the church's website. Currently the focus is on the Reading Challenge.
      • Our catalog is not online but I posted on the church's page that we were open and asked people to spread the word we had no lack of customers. Our regulars were glad we were open and parents trying to finish the school year were too
  • We usually have a 7-week reading program for kids (and sometimes adults) which involves weekly check-ins, prizes for goals accomplished, etc. Obviously that was going to be impractical. However, what we did this year was this: we created a Flat Librarians Reading Program, which lasted four weeks. It is based on the Flat Stanley books. We created a "Flat Librarians" for each child who participated (a laminated photo of the two of us) and asked them to include us in various activities and send us pictures, so we could see what we had been up to! Then we created a bookmark for each of four different age groups, each containing 15 or 16 reading and activity challenges on them. Anyone who returned a bookmark at the end received a book from us. We didn't have a huge number of people participate, maybe 15 or so, but the ones who did it really had fun with it!
  • We didn't have a summer reading challenge and our story times with preschoolers came to a halt but we picked up some new readers because since April we have been open by appointment two days a week. With many kids, about 40% in our area, doing online or home school at least to start this fall we are trying to make sure parents know we are here
  • Our church initially postponed VBS, but as our area of the state continued to show an increase of Covid-19 cases, it was determined that a full week of VBS would be difficult. (Our church hosts a day care and a summer camp during the day. Cleaning the building between summer camp and VBS and then again after nightly VBS events would be incredibly difficult.) With an eye toward maintaining a VBS schedule of some kind, our church hosted a one-day, Saturday VBS. The staff hoped for 50 students to register, and were thrilled with 80 who registered and attended!
  • We didn't, I'm afraid. The library and church were almost completely shut down from Mid-March to Mid-June. I am catching up, and hopefully next year will use the same slogan I came up with this year for the Reading Club. It was too overwhelming to deal with. Now I am set up to do pre-orders, and encouraging people to do that.
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