Library pilots a new book delivery program

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 10:00am

The Island Free Library staff have been busy developing programs and activities that provide traditional library services, but with a twist.

One program piloted by the library staff is titled Book-In-Place: books packaged in brown bags for residents in the community.

“A few libraries have tested curbside pickup, and we weren’t ready for that; we were [under the guidelines of] shelter-inplace. I didn’t want to encourage Block Islanders to leave their home,” said Library Director Kristin Baumann. “We have a book-sale room with great books, and we started putting them in bags, and added a few surprises in the bags. We went to the Food Pantry as a test, and then we went to McAloon’s for Mother’s Day. We did Mother’s Day bags with a book about women, and we did packets of tea as a treat in the bags.”

“This is our first step to curbside delivery – we did it because we are not quite ready to circulate our collection. There’s lots of things to figure out with curbside. With our book sale books, we don’t have to take back the books from customers. With Book-In-Place we can get out to the public [books that are] not contaminated and will not come back to the library — no checking in books, cleaning, signing out again,” added Baumann.

Baumann said the majority of people “have been excited” about this new program.

“People loved it. There were some people who said, ‘No thank you.’ Some were confused. For the most part, people were thrilled. In the end, people are getting the books that they do want. For [Technical Services Librarian] Susana [Gardner] and I who have been doing this project, it has been great fun for us. We chose to be librarians and we want people to read. For us it’s been ‘How can we do this?’ It was very rewarding,” said Baumann.

Baumann noted in previous historical accounts, librarians would hand out reading materials to residents in the community.

“Here we are, being pact librarians in this community. It’s universal that people want to read something – they want news, to travel somewhere in a book, to escape from the present world – books can do all those things, especially in a time with what is going on,” said Baumann.

The Book-In-Place program will continue on and develop further, depending on the state’s orders and levels of phasing.