Blogger Liza Purdy

They’re Back and They’re Excited

Covid numbers are down in Los Angeles County! The mask mandate has been lifted, and life is feeling more akin to pre-Covid days.  In the library, storytimes have moved inside, playtime afterwards has been reinstated, and we are living it up! After two years of outside or virtual programming, it feels wonderful!

Our numbers, which took a distinctive downward decline during quarantine and mask mandates, have started to rebound. It feels energizing to see more friends in our programming. Playtime’s return is particularly joyous. Young ones, who have been so isolated, desperately need chances for unstructured play with peers.  

Ms. Debby at a Bookworms Program, Santa Clarita Public Library, March 2022.
Photo by library staff.

Our outreach has picked up as well. Ms. Debby, one of our children’s librarians, had an uplifting encounter at a school visit last week. She was running STEM programming with an after-school crew of kindergarten through second graders. The kids were so excited to have her visit. No one outside of school staff has been allowed on campus for the past two years, so these kids had never experienced public library visits. As Debby wrapped up her experiment, she told the kids “I’ll be back next month,” and then whispered into the microphone “and I’ll bring slime!” She said they absolutely lost their minds! They were screaming and shrieking and going nuts! When she came back to the branch and was recounting the story, one staff member asked her if she felt like Elton John? She said “I felt like Elton John AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN!”

I don’t know how long this moment of community health will last. If we have learned nothing else over the past two years, it is that Covid-19 is a sneaky stinker of a virus. But for the moment, our community, our kids, our librarians are having a blast! May it continue to be so. With all of the sad news in the world, we sure could use some fun!

3 comments

  1. Kelly Doolittle

    I do agree about the we-sure-could-use-some-fun part! I only wish I had the same enthusiasm as you do when we get crowds of littleuns in the Youth Services room. What I still see is the potential for the continued spread of dangerous illness because of all the babies and toddlers who can’t wear masks – or get vaccines – mingling closely with older kids and folks who aren’t wearing masks, who also may or may not have been vaccinated. That’s why I’m keeping my mask on at work, and sticking with my virtual storytimes for now, (until it’s warm enough here in the Northeast to go outside for in person! Can’t come soon enough!)
    Just last week I had a family join me online whose preschooler was sick with COVID and they were quarantining. This, in a county where numbers are way down too! One child getting COVID is too many, and of course, without the emphasis on testing we used to have, there are doubtless more getting sick already.
    Personally, I don’t believe it’s time to let our guards/masks down. Several of my colleagues feel the same, but yes, not all. And now, here comes iteration BA-2. I guess my question is, how many children (not to mention our patrons who are immunocompromised or elderly – I’m thinking specifically of the grandmas and grandpas that sometimes come with the children,) will get sick before we realize we should’ve just kept our masks on, and asked our children’s room patrons to do the same?
    While I too, cannot wait to take this mask off while working, we are still in the midst of a world wide pandemic.
    I’d be interested to know if there are any other children’s librarians/library assistants out there who feel the same as me and my colleagues. Thank you! I wish you and your patrons well!

    1. Mari

      Came here to say the same. We also can’t forget all of our patrons (and staff) who are immunocompromised or who are disabled, where even a mild case of covid could bring down the dominos in their lives and affect their mobility, independence, and health.

  2. Polly

    We agree with you up here in Canada, 100%, Kelly.
    We just had the best program in the world and certainly a rock-star time as described above, just last week, but it was outdoors. We are bringing back one indoor storytime next month, but it will require masks and (for adults) vaccines, and everything else we do face to face will be outdoors and even then, masks are recommended.
    Our province’s mask mandate ended yesterday, and everyone is still wearing masks in my library (staff and members both), with one or two exceptions. We’ve had some of the longest lockdowns here in Ontario, and we are all pretty determined to stop another one if we can, at least at my library.

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