Gloversville Public Library to offer virtual programs

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Public Library is gearing up for several new and retooled virtual programs and events as the library continues to operate with limited in-person services due to the coronavirus.

Library Director Valerie Acklin on Tuesday provided the Board of Trustees an update on upcoming virtual programs and events and plans to reconfigure some ongoing remote offerings to ensure their sustainability until all regular library operations are able to resume.

The library this week hosted its first virtual guided meditation, which is planned as a monthly remote event. Patrons are invited to brew their favorite beverage before logging online for the guided meditation titled Virtual Meditation Tea with Christie.

The next virtual meditation will take place Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. with registration details for logging on available on the library’s website and Facebook page.

Next month the library will hold its second annual Local Author Fest. The inaugural event in 2019 allowed patrons to mix and mingle with local authors while picking up copies of their works before a panel discussion.

This year’s event will feature a virtual panel of local authors discussing with residents a variety of topics related to writing. The Local Author Fest is scheduled on Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. with registration details available online.

Two remote offerings created this year, the adult craft to go and the virtual craft and story time for kids, have reportedly proved popular.

Virtual craft and story time was launched earlier this year as part of the annual summer reading program to reimagine the longstanding children’s program and has continued into the fall with families able to pick up craft kits at the library each week to complete at home with guidance from library staff online. Staff members also regularly record themselves reading children’s books and post the videos online for kids to enjoy from home.

The popularity of the ongoing craft and story time program has exceeded the library’s expectations and will likely require some of the crafting components to be rethought to ensure its continued viability until the regular in-person program at the library can resume.

“Darla [Barry] and Sonny [Duross] have been busy putting those together, they didn’t realize it would be going so long and be so popular,” said Acklin. “There is a bit of a budget crunch so we may need to reconfigure how we do them to make sure we can continue to provide that to the kids.”

After seeing the success of the take and make crafts for kids, the library this fall launched an adult craft to go program that allows patrons to register for a free craft kit that can be picked up at the library to assemble at home with live remote instruction from library staff available during scheduled Zoom sessions. The adult program has already proved to be a success with all available kits for this month’s craft already spoken for.

Looking ahead to the new year, Acklin shared plans with the board to temporarily suspend the regular Jolly Readers book club beginning in January due to dwindling participation numbers in the meetings that are currently being conducted over Zoom.

Beyond scheduling complications and the challenges of conducting the book club meetings remotely, Acklin pointed to the need to temporarily quarantine borrowed materials when they are returned to the library to ensure their safety from possible coronavirus contamination as limiting the ability of participants to acquire each month’s featured title.

The Jolly Readers book club will continue its planned schedule through the end of 2020 when it will be suspended until regular library operations resume.

“It will come back when we can meet in-person,” said Acklin. “It was popular when could meet in-person.”

In the meantime, at the beginning of 2021 the library plans to launch some form of monthly “asynchronous genre discussion.” Currently the library is mulling plans to select a different genre each month that would allow patrons to choose any book from within that theme to read and then submit their thoughts on the selection to be featured on the library website.

“We’re going to have a theme each month that will be broad and fun and people can then choose any book in that category. There won’t be any difficulty in getting the book because of quarantine and we don’t have to worry about if we people will like the book,” said Acklin.

Aside from offering patrons an open outlet to discuss their reading selections, Acklin said the submitted comments could be used by the library to organize an online reading advisory section that patrons could peruse when looking for broad recommendations or if interested in exploring a particular genre.

“It will serve a dual function,” said Acklin.

Full details are expected ahead of the new program’s launch early next year.

By Patricia Older