For those who have been waiting patiently, Peters Township Public Library director Lacey Love has some good news.
“We are tentatively thinking about reopening the library on Monday, March 1,” she said.
She made the announcement during a report to township council at its Feb. 8 meeting, in which she described how the library has accommodated patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re thinking of doing a phased reopening,” she said. “So to start with, we would probably only open for browsing the stacks, have people come in, pick out their stuff and go.”
Other services, such as making the library’s computers available for public use, are to come later.
As a building, the library closed March 14. But staff members, led by now-retired director Myra Oleynik, worked on making sure it continued to function as an institution.
Love shared the results with council.
“More than 50,000 people attended library programs this year, and 90% of that attendance comes from virtual programs,” she said. “And the other 10% was from before the library closed, back in January and February.”
Those numbers don’t count the approximately 1.5 million people worldwide who have participated in the Hogwarts Digital Escape Room, created in March by youth services librarian Sydney Krawiec for the library’s Facebook page.
“The library’s virtual programming has only grown since the spring, to the point that we needed to upgrade our Zoom subscription recently to accommodate more participants for some really high-demand adult programs that we have,” Love said.
Circulation has continued throughout the pandemic with curbside service for pickup and drop off of materials.
“It’s been extremely busy, sometimes to the point that we need three or four staff members downstairs helping,” Love told council.
Since her hiring in October to succeed Oleynik, Love has noticed plenty of strengths for Peters Township Public Library.
“Our patrons are very enthusiastic about the library, and they really recognize the valuable asset that we are to the community, which is really impressive,” she said. “The library is a very great team environment. Every employee is always willing to pick up extra shifts, or help out with additional projects or tasks, whatever the case may be. So that makes it really easy for me, as a director.”
She also spoke about goals for the library, including creating written documentation for policies in several areas and working with the library board on developing a three-year strategic plan.
“I would like to work on evaluating the programming that we currently have in place, to make sure it’s the best that we can be offering to the community,” Love said, “as well as continuing to expand programming and come up with new ideas, especially programs for adults.”
Another focus is keeping the collection of materials updated and relevant, and she also wants to work with community organizations on various programs and projects.
“I think those partnerships and collaborations can be really, really valuable,” she said.
While the library has been closed to the public, it has undergone some physical improvements by way of the public works department.
“We just recently changed the doors in the library so that they are no-touch,” township manager Paul Lauer said, and the work isn’t finished: “We’re in the process of getting prices to redo some of the carpeting on the first floor.”
For more information, visit https://ptlibrary.org/.