“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell … a story. Make some light.” ― Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
I know that we will all have our own stories as we come out of this darkness. Some may be sad and some may be happy. A few may even be humorous. When I wonder about my own, it is unfathomable to think that people will look back at this time as they do the Spanish Influenza, wars and other points in history. Yet we are as resilient, as strong, as enduring as anyone in the past. We are strong!
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I am amazed at the things people out there are doing to reach out to help one another – medical personnel, first responders, police and fire fighters – who risk their lives to take care of the rest of us, volunteers making masks and delivering meals. There are those who work in grocery stores who are still there, despite never having been paid enough.
Preserving Your Pandemic Stories
Of course, all of you know this. I am certain that the world that emerges once we are on the other side of all this will not be the same world it was. Whenever that is, all of us at Peninsula Community Library will be here for you.
I hope to find a way to record your Peninsula stories through this time. So here is a task – some homework – jot down your personal story of these times, whether it is dark or light or in between. We will in the not too far future gather them together in our Local History Room and preserve them for future Old Mission generations.
PCL’s ‘Little Free Library’
There are many resources out there for you during this time we are closed. As of today, I have filled the little free library outside of PCL with books. While we cannot by law offer you curbside service, I have been told that we can do this with some ground rules.
First and foremost, please put on gloves before you open the box or touch any books. Wear a mask or bandana! If you don’t have gloves, put a new plastic bag over your hand. Be sure to take those protective things away with you when you leave.
Only one person at a time is allowed at the little free library. Wait in your car if someone is already there. Last, but most importantly, while these little libraries are usually take one leave one, I temporarily declare ours take only! Do not return the book! Save it for our book sale way down the road, share it with other members of your immediate household, recycle it if you must! However, DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE BOX!
The rule will also be one book per customer at a time. Leave choices for your neighbors. I will continue to fill the box from our book sale shelves for as long as it seems the rules are being followed and for as long as the books hold out.
Digital Resources and More
As Thomas Jefferson said, “I cannot live without books!” Of course, we have many more options today than he did. After the TADL digital collection (which is incredible), one of my favorite sites is The Gutenberg Project, where you can find thousands of classics that are now in the public domain, all digitized for your reading pleasure. Find it online here.
For those of you who are comfortable reading digitally, all the resources offered by the Traverse Area District Library are still available – books, movies, audio books, full issue magazines (including the ads) and more. You can even learn a foreign language with Mango! I believe that “Pirate” is one of the choices! Although after being stranded at sea for a month, I will pass on that one!
All is available through your library card. Need a library card? You can go online at TADL.org and start the process of applying. Send me an email, email@example.com, to let us know and we will look for it. Include your name and contact information. Have a card but need a password for online? Send me an email.
Need Internet? Use the PCL Wifi
Most of us here on the Old Mission Peninsula are fortunate to have internet access at home. However, not everyone does. The WiFi at PCL is still up and running 24/7 thanks to the Traverse Area District Library! Feel free to pull into the parking lot and access it from your car.
Go to settings on your phone, tablet or laptop, choose WiFi access, and select TADL wireless public. We ask you not to sit on the porch, tables or chairs at this time. Enjoy our WiFi from the warmth and comfort of your car. Connect to the world!
Keep Your Current Library Books Until We Re-Open
For those of you who still have library books out, no worries. Your books have automatically been renewed. Nothing will be due and no fines will be charged. I am impressed by the number of you who emailed me with concern over returning the books! You are great patrons! However, we ask you to keep them until we re-open.
And when that time comes, we will have a procedure in place to ensure that anything coming back is isolated for an acceptable time and is virus free. For now, the return box is locked. We know you will take good care of anything you currently have out.
When Will the Library Re-Open?
I do not think that in the current world, we can say. Regardless, when we do, staff will be concentrating on ensuring that all returned items are safe to go back on the shelves, that the library is properly disinfected and ready for public use, and that new guidelines are in place for all our good health. Therefore, all programming planned through June 1 is cancelled. I will not be planning any summer programming until I know it is safe. We will be doing this slowly when the time comes.
In the meantime, there is much to do out there. I and my staff have been sharing things on our Facebook page. We have even stolen some ideas from all of you, so keep them coming! There are free concerts, activities, coloring sheets for people of all ages (there is a great one of our very own lighthouse in the Old Mission Gazette – check that out here), gardening tips and more.
We are working on offering a few story hours for kids via Facebook and a book club where you share what you are reading via email and Facebook. Here is one for parents with kids at home to check out – NASA Space Camp at home with activities included. I can tell you personally that the straw rockets are a lot of fun! You senior citizens out there might want to try it. Send pictures for us to share.
Lost at Sea – Thank You!
One last thing before I end this much too long email. I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and well wishes while Bob and I were “lost” at sea on a virus-free but mechanically malfunctioning ship that could not find port. My staff, especially Cathy Adams, did a great job of holding things together at PCL during extraordinary times.
I also want to thank Jane Boursaw, my good friend and editor, publisher and owner supreme of the Old Mission Gazette, who gave me voice and kept me sane while we were floating aimlessly in the South Pacific (read all the dispatches here). Jane, let’s write our own book together about the adventure and parallel times at home! (Vicki – I’m in! – jb)
Fill Out the Census 2020
Finally, I lied. There is one more thing. We are in the middle of Census 2020, which will influence funding for libraries, schools, communities and more going forward. If you have already filled out your form online, hurray! If not, please read on for information from Old Mission’s own Brit Eaton, a staff member with the census team.
In the meantime, until we meet again in person, I wish you all good health and safe travels through the next few weeks! Please know we are a family, and I love you all!
– Vicki Shurly, Director, Peninsula Community Library
About the Census 2020
From OMP resident Brit Eaton:
By now, everyone in the Grand Traverse area should have received a letter invitation via the U.S. Postal Service to complete the 2020Census Questionnaire. We are encouraged to go online to my2020census.gov and complete the questionnaire with our unique ID for the household address where we live.
There are two additional ways to self-respond: by telephone, (844) 330-2020, or by filling out a physical questionnaire, which you will receive if you don’t complete the survey online or by telephone.
Why is it so important to the Grand Traverse area that each person be counted? Because for each person counted, the federal government returns about $1,800 – $2,000 in funding to the local community, to schools, fire stations, highways, community services, etc.
As of April 4, 2020, Michigan is 15 percent behind the self-response rate from the 2010 Census (67.3 percent in 2010 compared to 52.4 percent for 2020).
We encourage you, your neighbors and friends to respond and make sure everyone is counted by either going to my2020Census.gov, calling the toll-free phone line, or filling out a questionnaire. By self-responding now, there is no reason that a census taker will have to come to your home to follow-up in person, thus keeping everyone at a safe distance during this time of social distancing.
For those people on the Old Mission Peninsula who have multiple addresses, such as a second home elsewhere, you will receive a request for each address. In that case, you should complete the survey at the residence where you live and sleep most of the time. If you cannot determine the place where you live most of the time, you should fill out the one where you were staying on Census Day – April 1, 2020.