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Island Park library offers virtual activities, anticipates a gradual reopening

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Island Park Public Library, normally a community gathering place, has been closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, according to director Jessica Koenig, library staff is helping patrons stay connected and planning for a reopening as soon as public health conditions permit.

“It's’ very frustrating to not be back at our building,” she said, “but we want everyone to know that we’re still here virtually, and we’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes to keep people connected to each other.”

Any reopening would be gradual, and Koenig anticipates to first open for curbside pickup, with only staff allowed in the building. Until then, and even after in-person browsing resumes, the library’s website has several online resources available, including:

While people continue to stay at home, Island Park Public Library has been active on social media and with Zoom calls to keep patrons connected. “We will be increasing virtual programming since it may be some time before we can bring people together for in-person programs,” Koenig said.

For example, children’s librarian Lorraine Bianco communicates with residents via Facebook. She posts story time videos, LEGO challenges and other activities for kids to do at home.

The library also has a Spring Reading Challenge and is making plans for online summer reading programs. On June 18 at 2 p.m., there will be a virtual county-wide Summer Reading Program kick-off program featuring Jester Jim. “We know that will be very enjoyable, and we’ll post instructions for accessing that program as we get closer to the date,” Koenig said.

Virtual programming also includes a monthly book chat the second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. and a community chat every Friday at 1 p.m., plus a writing workshop. The library is working on other fun virtual events and holds online writing workshops, as well.

Koenig reminds residents that all late fees are waived, so don’t worry about any library materials you may have at home for now. In addition, she hopes the community will vote for the library budget on their mail-in ballots in the school and library vote on June 9.