… with a human touch
By Joyce Marcel, president of the Friends
Photo: Jeff Potter
Reprinted with permission of The Commons (commonsnews.org)
When Gov. Phil Scott issued his emergency orders that shut down most public spaces last month, the Agency of Commerce stated that libraries were among those services “not considered critical to public health and safety or economic and national security.”
And amid the global pandemic, 183 Vermont libraries closed their doors.
If that sounds like a lot of libraries and a lot of doors, it’s helpful to know that the state ranks first in the nation in the number of libraries per capita.
“Libraries are the shared resources of the community,” said Starr LaTronica, the director of Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro. “This is what the community thinks is of value, whether they’re physical items or online resources. The community pays for the staff, which is the greatest resource. And the library is there for everyone.”
“There are very few institutions left where that is true. That’s what libraries do,” she added. “We find a need in the community and try to fill it or facilitate it.”
But librarians being librarians, closing the doors wasn’t the end of it.
In fact, it was only the beginning, certainly in Windham County. The quarantine just moved library services online.