It could be Albert Einstein had a book in his hand when he observed, “The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”
He was right, as ardent readers know. And this week, they returned to libraries throughout Sussex County to borrow books they have missed since the coronavirus forced that chapter of their lives to close in March.
At the Selbyville Public Library, patrons and personnel were pleased to see each other again, said the library’s director, Kelly Kline.
“They were really happy they were able to get some reading material now, and also a little bit of assurance that we’re here and we’re OK. It’s nice to see their faces, and I think they wanted to see our faces. So far, so good,” she said.
To get a book, or other materials, from the Selbyville Public Library, just call and make a request. When items are available, someone from the library will be in touch to schedule a pick-up time.
“We will put items in a bag. They will already be checked out. We’ll put them on a table, in groups. Everything is available except magazines,” Kline said.
The library is open, with a reduced staff of four, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays, and 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Sussex County libraries have unified summer reading programs, all available by logging into sussexcountyde.beanstack.org.
“Reading is good for you — especially for kids and especially as long they have been out of school this year. You can compete with your family members. It sets an example for children to see their parents reading,” Kline said.
As part of the summer reading program, the Selbyville Public Library will give away three Kindles as prizes, one each to a child, a teenager and an adult, for meeting reading challenges. Other prizes will include gift certificates and puzzles.
The challenge will end Aug. 15.
Also, next week, Summer Eats will begin at the Selbyville Public Library, offering boxed lunches to children.
Millsboro library patrons 'so happy to be getting materials'
At the Millsboro Public Library, materials, except magazines, can be ordered by calling the library. An employee will get the item from the shelf and put it in a plastic bag so the patron can pick it up curbside.
Mary Brittingham, library director, said the library is getting regular calls and readers are “so happy to be getting materials.”
“Generally speaking, they are complying with wearing a mask when they come up to the door, so I think this is a very positive step. When items are returned, they will be quarantined for three days and cleaned. We will wipe everything off,” she said.
Frankford library patrons happy to see staff
At the Frankford Public Library, acting director Bonnie Elliott said the regulars are “very happy to see us.”
“Before we even started curbside pick-up we had books that were discarded, and we gave out about 90 mystery bags with about three books in each bag. People could come up and just take the bags of books and they are theirs. They don’t have to be returned,” she said.
As far as the library’s regular lending program, as explained on the library’s Facebook page, patrons can call the library to schedule a pick-up, usually the next day. The facility is open Monday to Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Once in the parking lot, the staff is called, and someone wearing a mask takes items to the car and places them in the back seat or trunk. Once books are returned to the library, they aren’t returned to shelves for three days.
The library is posting its summer reading program on its Facebook page, with stories in English and Spanish.
“On Tuesdays we do our regular storytime. We are continuing to do it. We have been doing it since we shut down for the virus.
“We looked at what was available for the patrons. We made the decision that we were going to provide something for them on a daily basis that they can turn to,” she said.
On Thursdays, Elliott leads children in a STEM project, such as determining how many pennies can be contained in a floating aluminum foil boat.
“We’ve done projects. We showed everybody how to make hand sanitizer. For Flag Day we made a flag from corks,” she said.
Also this week, Delaware First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney formally kicked off the 2020 statewide Summer Library Reading Program, called Imagine Your Story.
Carney, in a news release, praised what she termed “the library habit,” saying it leads to educational success.
“I’m very proud of my Delaware library card, because of what it does for me and what it represents for our community,” Carney stated.
Delaware libraries have hosted the longest-running summer reading program in the nation. Now in its 42nd year, it helps children develop reading and language skills, and also aids teenagers and adults.
Registration for the program is available at all Delaware libraries and online. Incentive badges are awarded based on reading and activity milestones.
The program has a schedule of events continuing through the summer, with a performing arts component including Turtle Dance Music, sponsored in partnership with the Delaware Division of the Arts.
Also at libraries, free wireless broadband internet is available at every location and there will be no fines for late materials through Labor Day.