The last five months have been tough, but I don’t have to tell that to anyone. The other day, I was looking at past posts on the library’s Instagram page, and came across one from March that said we were closing for just two weeks.
Two weeks turned into four, and then into months. I often think about whether we’ll ever be back at where we were before: families meeting upstairs to play in the mini-store front area, 60 or more people settling in for storytime, teens taking over the Community Room after school to film TikToks and eat snacks, or 15 people bumping into each other while creating something in The SPARK. I hope we’ll get back there, but it will take time. The future is frustratingly unknown.
Along the way, myself and staff had to determine how stay connected with our patrons. We thrived on our daily, in-person interactions. We had created such a community here at the library by opening the doors for more than just readers. And then the doors closed, and they’re still not wide open.
But, let me tell you, this amazing community has embraced what the library has been able to do. I remember our first curbside user and the relief that was on her face! When we began allowing patrons back in the library, many were so grateful to be able to finally browse. Facebook and social media comments and interactions have been enthusiastic, positive, and heartwarming. All of this has made the tough decisions, the tough days, and the struggles a whole lot better.
Yet I know there are still more struggles to come. Budgets will become tighter and this year’s decreased circulation will affect the library’s funding in the next couple years. We’ll have to take a closer look where cuts can be made. But, this is where the newly relaunched Friends of Milton Public Library comes in. The Friends carry out the library’s mission of opening doors for curious minds, nurturing learning and creativity, creating opportunities, and enriching lives by bringing people and ideas together. They provide an extra level of support not possible through the library’s normal operating budget. In the past, they’ve supported all of the library’s programming. And you know how much we LOVE to do programming, be it virtual or in-person.
We have so appreciated everyone’s support through kind words and positive feedback, but we also want people to know that they can support and connect with the library through an annual membership to the Friends of Milton Public Library. Memberships range from $5 for a child to $300 for lifetime. Money will go to the library for programming and events, staff training, new and unique services – such as the newly-purchased online tutoring service, Brainfuse – and ways to help reconnect the library with the community in the months and years to come.
More information about the Friends can be found at the library’s website at www.miltonpubliclibrary.org or by stopping in at the library and talking with staff.
It’s difficult to look forward to anything these days, but I know I can always look forward to the community’s continual support of the library.
Thank you for being a Friend.