Library moving towards in-person programs
The Board of Trustees for the Island Free Library met via Zoom on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 for their monthly meeting, discussing everything from landscaping to upcoming summer programs.
According to Library Director Kristin Baumann, most programs for the summer season will take place outside. Baumann is expecting to hold off on formal indoor programs until
fall, and will continue to provide virtual programs for people who may not yet feel comfortable in a crowd. For instance, all episodes of the very popular In Our Kitchens program, done in conjunction with the Senior Advisory Committee, are available on the Island Free Library YouTube channel. The library will continue to offer a hybrid model of operation, with both in-person and online options.
Some programs have already moved outside, including Healthy Kids Outdoor Exploration with Kim Gaffett, and Mahjong on Saturdays, beginning this week. Additionally, the library will participate in Night Market on Dodge on Thursday nights, along with the businesses on Dodge Street.
The library is open and available to the public, following all guidelines and mandates from the state and town regarding mask wearing and social distancing. The staff is almost
fully vaccinated, with the last member already scheduled for their second dose. Baumann says the library staff will continue to trust the advice of the state and town.
Many Block Islanders have no doubt noticed the new shingles going up on the library’s exterior. Baumann reported that the exterior work for the shingles and the new windows in Phase 1 of the renovations is complete. Phase 2 of the project, which includes the rest of the window replacement, will begin as soon as possible and will continue throughout the summer.
The library continues to prepare for the summer season, with railing repair, elevator repair, water fountain installation, and landscaping. The library suffers from the same
difficulties as everyone else in securing mainland contractors, however. Bad weather and ferry cancellations consistently disrupt repair work of all types. And despite contracting the “good” elevator repair people, no one has been able to make it out to fix the elevator yet but with repair contracts signed and deposits paid, it is only a matter of time until there is a working elevator again.
There is still work to be done on the interior as well, including electrical work and plaster repair. There will still be lingering pieces of the project going into the summer, but Baumann expects to have all areas open to the public as much as possible around the construction.
The library’s budget for next year was approved at the Financial Town Meeting, having met no resistance at any of the work sessions. Baumann mentioned that this is typically the time of year that the library spends money, buying supplies for summer, getting new books and resources in, and completing repair projects, but she says the library is on
track for this fiscal year and she anticipates no problems going forward.
Currently, the library is open to the public with a combination of in-person and virtual programs. Virtual programs include Zoom Storytime with Ms. Morgan, Frankenstein Tea
on YouTube, Zoom Knitting Night, Preschool Storytime on Facebook. In-person activities include Healthy Kids Outdoor Exploration with Kim Gaffett, and Mahjong on Saturday.
Dates and times are available on the Island Free Library website.
The current library hours are Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.