Several services of the Cooke County Library have been frequently used in the month since the library reopened in late May.

From computers to online classes, library Director Jennifer Johnson-Spence says people are finding ways to keep busy during the summer.

Before, when the library closed the inside of its facility, patrons leaned on curbside pickup and Johnson-Spence said that is still being used despite the inside being open to 50% capacity.

“They still prefer to use it,” Johnson-Spence said. “I think that’s going to go back up since case numbers have increased again and we’re happy to provide that service again. Whatever helps people feel safe, we’ll do the best we can to help them. People were just happy that we were providing it still and more people are willing to come in and look for movies and books themselves.”

The three computers the library has available are constantly in use, according to Johnson-Spence.

“People are thrilled that the computers are open again,” Johnson-Spence said. “We allow people to print items they need and file some medical reports or take care of unemployment stuff. There is a demand for being able to print documents or make copies. They’ve done some faxing too because some government agencies or medical places require it. The computers have been well received.”

Johnson-Spence said the library will continue to offer virtual programs and credited her staff for its hard work.

“The children’s classes are very popular because Kimberly Reiter does a great job,” Johnson-Spence said. “She’s got four little boys and has a degree in teaching and now has her master’s in library sciences. She’s always been great at activities with children and she has a way with them that is very special and they respond. She makes learning fun.”

One recent video had 40 views and along with adult crafting classes, the library also offers LEGO classes. That information can be found at cookecountylibrary.org/events/.

“Rachel Hill teaches the arts and STEM classes and she’s taken those to a new level,” Johnson-Spence said. “The arts classes have really become more advance. Her and Kim together have done some movement classes and a yoga class. They did one this week that was a children’s yoga class. They work very well together.”

Johnson-Spence said staff are still making sure the library is as clean as possible and providing services that don’t require people to be in the library.

“We’re going to stay where we’re at and continue to offer things the way we have,” Johnson-Spence said. “We’re going to continue to offer virtual services and we’ll continue to clean the books and let them hang out for 72 hours. It’s a way for us to make sure the materials are safe for the next person and we’re trying to make sure we’re doing all we can to make it as safe as possible.”

When it comes to people entering the library, Johnson-Spence said they are encouraging people to stay an hour at a time and come back later in the day for safety reasons.

“One of the ways the virus spreads is circulation inside isn’t conducive,” Johnson-Spence said. “You have a better chance of catching it if you’re inside all day at the same spot. We close at 4:30 to sanitize and clean the computers and the materials.”

The summer reading program is still a go, but Johnson-Spence said the library is changing some things when it comes to rewards.

“I didn’t feel like we should ask local businesses to give prizes because we’re all struggling,” Johnson-Spence said. “We had already planned to give away Kindle Fire HD 8s and when you use the library card, that puts you into a drawing for your age group. That’s until July 15. We just decided that was safer and the more you use the card, the more chances you get at winning. Everybody still wins.”

Also, the library put together STEM kits and made them available at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cooke County.

“We took them over there so each of the kids on the elementary side got to do the Three Billy Goats Gruff,” Johnson-Spence said. “It had a little book and they can read the story from the book and they were supposed to build their own catapult and it teaches them some skills for building and science and math. Since we can’t be there physically, we can still provide services for them.”

The library hours will continue to be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m Monday through Friday. The library can be reached at 940-668-5530.

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