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East Meadow Public Library launches digital programs

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When the Covid-19 pandemic began forcing businesses to close and events to be canceled, Jude Schanzer, the programming director of the East Meadow Public Library, said she would find a way to continue offering patrons the library’s cultural programs and exhibits.

Now they can attend programs without leaving their living rooms by using the videoconferencing software Zoom. The library has a list of programs offered this month (see sidebar).

“Besides imparting education, entertainment and enlightenment, they’re fostering a wonderful sense of community,” said Jude Schanzer, the library’s director of programming. “Joining allows us all to visit together.”

Schanzer noted that patrons have been excited to see the library continue to offer programs. One woman said it made her forget she was alone at home instead of at the library with friends.

During some programs, guests can click a “raise your hand” button to ask questions and interact with the presenters.

This isn’t the first time the library has had to create alternative ways to continue its programming.  It has been partially closed for construction since last July, and has hosted its programs throughout the community, with the help of local institutions and organizations such as the East Meadow Jewish Center, the United Methodist Church and the Firefighters Benevolent Association Hall.

To host art exhibits, the library even created its own gallery in an empty room at the Samanea New York Market, the former Source Mall, in Westbury.

The programs it is offering this month include Story Time, children’s play time and, on April 19, a live-streamed concert by harpist Edmar Castañeda of Colombia, who will perform a genre of folk music popular in his home country and Venezuela called Llanera.

When he immigrated to the United States in 1994 from Colombia, Castañeda brought with him the music of his ancestors. The New York State Council on the Arts funded the program, which will be hosted by the library in coordination with the Port Washington-based arts organization Long Island Traditions.