Public libraries are facing unexpected challenges.

Months into the unparalleled COVID-19 pandemic which has cost thousands of lives and brought the world to a standstill, public libraries are doing what we do best -- looking toward the future we hope to build together.

Libraries have proven we are accessible far beyond the four walls of our buildings during this crisis. We must now prioritize staff and public safety for the foreseeable future. This will undoubtedly impact how Kilgore Memorial Library is staffed and what services can be provided. We will be following the guidance of public health officials during this time.

With the large number of unknowns and the severity of the virus’ local impact, reopening will be done in cautious stages. Our “Best Practices” include monitoring traffic in and out of library, limiting library users to a safe distance capacity, and posting a sign at entrances notifying customers to stop if they are sick and ask them not to enter the library. Curbside pickup is still being offered for our patrons.

Our annual Summer Reading Program is postponed until next year. There are many other programs in the works, though, including virtual escape rooms and the recurring noon brown bag book talks (held outside). Also, from June 18 until July 18, Kilgore is challenging Yorkites to help the community reach a goal of 500,000 minutes of reading. Four Corners Health Department has approved the outdoor events of Brown Bag Story Time and our Summer Celebration with DJ Connor Mogul and ice cream sundaes provided by the Friends of the Library on July 18 from 2:30 to 3:30 following the water fights on Balloon Days.

The Little Free Libraries are back in place and ready for summer reading. Stop by Grand Central, York County Historical Association, Mincks Park, York News-Times, York Head Start or East Hill Park for great children’s books.

Thank you to the talented fourth graders at St. Joseph Catholic and Emmanuel Faith who let their imaginations soar as they designed our new bookmarks. Stop in to pick up an original page holder for your next book!

As anxious as you are for the Library to “return to normal,” the staff is just as eager. But until then, updates on all activities are available at http://libraries.ne.gov/york/, or follow updates at Kilgore Memorial Library on Facebook. Staff are still here to assist at 402-363-2620 or via email at kilgore@cityofyork.net.

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