Library Lines: Communication with patrons inspires Worthington staff members

Hillary Kline
Guest Columnist

The Worthington Libraries staff is as disappointed as you that COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has kept our buildings closed to the public.  

We miss tracking down the perfect book for you and putting it in your hands; we want to see and assist our Homework Help Center students; and we want to stand next to you and answer your questions about job searching, downloading audiobooks and so much more.  

But it just isn’t safe to do those things now and we get that, but don’t think we aren’t eagerly looking forward to the day when we can. 

Hillary Kline

What we can do is answer your questions via telephone, text and email; recommend great books on social media; and get you materials through curbside pickup and drive-up window. We love seeing you at the window or in the parking lot, even if we’re both wearing masks. 

Thank you for communicating with us, too.  

Our socially distanced conversations as well as the messages we’ve received via social media, email and mail are so humbling and heartwarming we often share them with each other and the library’s board of trustees.

These “why we’re here moments” remind us that even during these uncertain times the limited services we can provide make a difference. 

Many patrons have remarked how grateful they are the library is able to provide materials during the pandemic.  

One woman mailed a note saying the books she’s able to get help her “stay sane.” One curbside pick-up patron told the staff she values her library card now more than her telephone number. A November email we received noted: “It has been so important for Mom to have something to read since she cannot see people.” 

The following message came via the library’s Facebook page last month: “These brown bags (a photo of the patron’s recent curbside pickup was included) full of love, adventure, escape and laughter have been my saving grace these last few (hundred) months. I scroll through recommended reading lists, make reserves with abandon and eagerly await ‘your library items are available for curbside pickup’ texts to arrive. I schedule my pickup date a few days ahead, just in case more goodies are delivered and wait with excitement for the brown bag of goodness to be placed lovingly in my backseat. I carefully open the bag when I get home, allowing myself to look at only the top book in the bag. My (totally arbitrary) rules dictate that I must read the books in the order they arrive in the bag. To find out what’s next, I have to read my way through the pile – my own way to add a little adventure to these days of sameness. Thank you for being there for me and for us all. For continuing to deliver these precious packages. For keeping us sane and off of the screens for at least a few hours each day.” 

Hillary Kline is communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.