Read On! Free meals

This summer, the Library’s services are a lot different from what we were able to do in previous summers. I know I’ve written similar sentences before. I’m still in the process of grieving that change and it’s often at the forefront of my mind. I’m not alone in that grief process. Recently, a librarian in the Chicago area was interviewed by the New York Times and said libraries want to be the “community living room” where people “stay and get comfortable,” but we’re now having to build service models that contradict that goal. It’s a difficult, though necessary, adjustment. I’m not sure any of the Library staff is used to it yet. 

One of the things I’m pleased we can offer again this summer is free food for kids and teens. In fact, because the USDA relaxed their guidelines, we can offer more food options and service days this summer than we were able to last summer. 

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday the Pryor Library is serving a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Any child or teen is eligible to get meals and parents are welcome to pick up meals for their kids. The meals are shelf-stable and come with a carton of shelf-stable Hershey’s milk. 

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma provides all of the meals we distribute. They are just as passionate about making sure everyone has enough to eat as we are. Families have the option to come each service day to pick up meals or to grab multiple days’ worth of meals at one visit. We’ve got everything behind the main checkout desk. 

While you’re in the library, don’t forget to register for our Summer Reading Program. Everyone who registers gets an at-home activity sheet and is entered into a grand prize drawing. The Summer Reading Program is a great way to make sure everyone reads all summer long. 

Read On! How to reopen

Your library staff is busy brainstorming and planning what our services will look like when we reopen. Our priority is keeping everyone – patrons and staff – safe because, while we’ve managed to flatten the curve, the virus is still out there.

Please be patient with us while we figure things out. When we reopen everyone will have some adjustments to make. For sure, we will continue to encourage social distancing. This means staff won’t be able to provide as much close-contact service, especially in our computer lab and with our copier. We’ll also likely have fewer computers available for patron use, so we’ll have to enforce time limits and reservations. We will continue to quarantine returned materials, so we may have some increased wait times.

Our biggest decision right now is about our Summer Reading Program. We will have a reading challenge similar to previous years, but we may not be able to offer the classes and events in the library that we’ve always done. As much as we hate it, this year, it may not be safe.

We will continue to work closely with City Hall and the Mayes County Health Department as we make these decisions. I can definitely say, we’re excited to see everyone again!

Now for some good news: we have started curbside pickup of Library materials!

Contact us (via phone, email, Facebook messenger, carrier pigeon, etc.) to place your order. Once everything is gathered and checked out to you, you can pick your materials up from the table we’ve set up in front of the main parking lot entrance.

Pickup day & times are:
Mondays 3 – 8 pm
Wednesdays 12 – 4 pm
Fridays 12 – 4 pm

We’re asking that orders be finalized two weekdays before pickup. We’ll keep an eye on the pickup table and wipe it down between patrons to make sure it’s clean and safe for everyone.

Read On! Teaching at home

I come from a long line of teachers. Well, a line of two – my mother was a middle school English teacher and my grandfather taught various subjects in the area of vocational agriculture. For a long time, I thought I also wanted to be a teacher, following in my mom’s footsteps to teach English/Language Arts. 

Shortly after college, I took a long-term substitute teaching gig in a middle school English class and realized a few things: Teaching is rewarding, amazing, and just plain hard in all the good ways. Teaching is also a round-the-clock job that is challenging in all the ways I am not cut out for. 

I now find myself in a more formal teaching role with my own children (and appreciating the hard work of homeschooling families on a whole new level). I’m lucky to have technology and the support of the school system, but this is still a difficult role to adjust to. (My kids are a lot sassier than the students I had all those years ago!)

We’re trying to find a balance between goofing off, learning, and me working from home. The library’s resources have come in handy! My kids are too young to get much out of our LearningExpress resource (it covers 4th grade through college), but I highly recommend it to older learners. We are enjoying the Tumblebooks and Overdrive collections, though, and are watching Autumn’s Facebook storytimes on repeat.

We do physics experiments to see how sturdy pillows and blankets are as building materials and go on excursions to discover (and name) the wildlife outside. “Football,” the assassin bug, and “Rarous,” the barred owl, are our favorites. 

Your library staff is still available to answer phones, emails, and messages, so if you need help navigating our online resources or figuring out what wildlife you’ve found in your backyard, let us know.

Read On! New Normal

I’m writing this article while sitting in my living room with my kids. My son is playing a video game and is only slightly annoyed every time I tell him to back away from the TV screen. My daughter is playing a farm/math game on her tablet and is so excited every time the game gives her a star. 

I’ve got 9 tabs open in my internet browser and am messaging with my staff through our email’s chat feature. This seems to be our new normal, at least for a while, and it’s working, but it’s hard to get used to. I’m an introvert most of the time, but I definitely prefer being face-to-face to collaborate with the library’s staff and community. 

While the library is closed to the public, we’re still working hard to provide as many services to our community as possible. We’re posting resources and fun stuff on our Facebook page and are working on a resource page on our website. The Youth Services staff is working on storytimes that can be broadcast online (so many authors and publishers have released their copyrights to let that happen). We’ve started signing people up for digital cards so they can access ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, digital magazines, and streaming videos through Overdrive/Libby. And we’re brainstorming ways to have online crafting workshops.

We’re still answering phones, emails, and messages via social media, so if you need some one-on-one help with a resource, we’re still available! Our phone-answering hours are our normal library hours Mon & Thurs 1 – 9 PM; Tues, Wed, Fri 9 – 5 PM; Sat 9 – noon.  

We definitely miss having everyone in the building! We miss your faces and your stories. We miss talking about what we’re all reading and enjoying. We miss being with our community! 

Please take care of yourselves so that when this is all over we can get caught up!