I was devastated when my town library posted on Facebook that they were closing in the middle of March. I totally get why they closed, don’t get me wrong, but I was really sad because if you know me, you know that I love the library. I’ve always been a reader but since I graduated college four years ago, and especially in the last few years, I’ve become a more serious reader; I read 64 books last year and I think I’m on track to reach my goal of 65 for this year.
I also spent a lot of nights and weekend mornings at the library during grad school. I started the fall after I finished undergrad, my program was completely online, which I liked, and I was working full-time at my old job, plus ice cream on the weekends. So sometimes it was nice to get out of the house and go to the library for a quiet place to work on papers. (I had one desk I always used because it was far enough back in the adult stacks that it was quiet but not too far back that the wi-fi got spotty.)
So after the town library closed, I took out three books from the library on campus before I started working from home, but I clearly read those pretty quickly. Luckily, I had the Harry Potter series to read during quarantine. I bought three books at the end of May from bookshop.org because I wasn’t sure when the library was going to open again. And just my luck they posted on Facebook they were opening for curbside pick-up the next day.
I did the pick-up once earlier this month, which was great. I was able to put books on hold through the catalog and they called me the next day to set up an appointment time for pick-up. But sometimes I just wander the stacks and find books, so it was a little tricky to find books I wanted through the catalog.
Connecticut is in phase 2 of reopening, and the library announced last week they would be open to the public this Monday. I was SO excited. I don’t really leave the house; I think I’ve only left a handful of times but I was going to go to the library. I just had to.
I decided to go Tuesday night since I had finished my last book from the library Monday night and wanted to return all of them at once. When I got to the library, the parking lot was pretty empty. I normally return my books at the circulation desk—they have a slot that goes into the side of the desk—but they’re not taking books there right now, so I returned my three in the slot outside. They’re quarantining any returned books for seven days.
I think there was a total of eight people inside the library, including the staff. They put Plexiglas up in front of where you check out at the circulation desk and had markers on the floor for six foot distance in line. They removed most of the computers and furniture, too, and had lines marked in between the stacks.
Prior to leaving my house, I put together a list of four books I knew I wanted and that were available, so I got those plus wandered around for a while since it was pretty empty in there. When I was checking my books out, I told the woman that I was so excited they were finally open and she said she was too.
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- The Witches are Coming by Lindy West
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor
- All My Mother’s Lovers by Ilana Masad
- Followers by Megan Angelo
For someone who hardly leaves the house, I felt comfortable in the library. My mom has been making us masks, so I wore one of those, and after having to spend an hour-plus in one the other week for a work thing, I was fine wearing it for 20 minutes while in the library. It was nice that the library was pretty empty but even if there had been a few more people—they’re currently running at 50% capacity—I would have been fine.
I got six books out to last three weeks until they have to go back. I’m trying to limit my trips to the library; I used to go every week but if I can go every three, I’ll do that. That just means I have to take out more at once.
What’s one place that you’re excited opened in your area or will be opening?