Library Services adapt during COVID pandemic



Alastor Unterbrink, son of Rikki and Travis Unterbrink, enjoys looking at a book at the library.

Courtesy photo

SIDNEY — Shelby County Libraries faced many challenges, along with the rest of the state of Ohio during the 2020 pandemic. The Stay at Home order in March had many patrons reaching out to get new library cards, or renew current library cards.

“The staff worked diligently to make sure each request was answered. Those with library cards were able to access a variety of materials and resources such as ebooks, emagazines, audio books, movies and music. At each of our six library locations the wifi was able to be accessed from the parking lots for those who needed to work or learn electronically,” said Suzanne Cline, executive director.

Her report continues:

Once the Stay at Home order was lifted, the library began providing curbside service, allowing patrons to call in and request either specific books or just a collection of items that were pulled and delivered to the cars while people waited in the parking lot. Since the Library was unable to have the normal book fair, it was during this time that free bags of donated books were also handed out via the curbside service.

As more and more businesses were able to open the doors, the Library also reopened, allowing patrons to come in to select their own materials. Of course, the suggested restrictions were put into place, making sure proper cleaning and protective items were utilized, some restrictions were placed on the number of patrons allowed in certain areas, as well as the request for all to wear a mask while using the library facilities.

While many in person programs had to be cancelled, the Library staff began coming up with fantastic virtual programs, and take-home projects. It was during this time that we reached out to the Soil and Water Conservation office to create a wonderful collaboration for a virtual storytime. The Monday morning program provides entertainment, as well as educational information for those viewing it. For the adults, we have been able to conduct live trivia contests via Facebook, as well as a Zoom puzzle competition and take-home craft projects. The Library was still able to provide the amazing Ohio Water Color show in the Art Gallery during the entire months of November and December.

The library also continues to administer the Dollywood Foundation program, Imagination Library, a proven literacy program for children from birth to five years of age. Children participating in the program receive a free age appropriate, high quality book each month delivered directly to their door. The program is the result of collaboration with many area groups. The United Way provides financial support, while Wilson Health registers every Shelby County baby born at their facility. Since the inception in 2015, there have been nearly 149,000 books mailed to the participants. The current enrollment is approximately 68% of the total population of children in Shelby County from birth up to age five.

While 2020 definitely looked different for library services, the staff are looking forward to continuing to provide quality virtual programs and services. We are looking forward to getting back to all the wonderful in person programs and use of the meeting space.

Shelby County Libraries serves the library needs of all ages seeking life-long exploration in a vibrant and welcoming space vital to Community Life. The Library has locations throughout the county in Anna, Botkins, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Sidney and Russia.


Alastor Unterbrink, son of Rikki and Travis Unterbrink, enjoys looking at a book at the library. Unterbrink, son of Rikki and Travis Unterbrink, enjoys looking at a book at the library. Courtesy photo