LITTLE CURRENT – Northeast Town librarian Kathy Jo Berry said she hopes more residents will take up the challenge of submitting entries to the library’s COVID-19 Chronicles project, but admits that so far things have fallen short of overwhelming.
“We have lots of public records and technical information, but not a lot of personal submissions,” she said. The librarian said that she hopes the uptake will increase when the library opens. “We will be opening soon,” said Ms. Berry, but cautioned that the opening will not be full access just yet.
The chronicles project is aimed at archiving “the community’s experience during this historically significant period, the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To that end, not only are relevant public records related to the COVID-19 pandemic being gathered, but the public library is also seeking “to preserve personal accounts and artistic expressions of individuals living in, or with ties to Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands.”
The project is not limited strictly to the written word, as the library is also encouraging artwork, videos and other records that can lend themselves to preservation.
“Documenting how hardships were coped with and blessings recognized as well as other displays of experience will serve future generations in ways we may never understand,” noted Ms. Berry. “The chronicles are not only a responsibility to the future, but a testament to the strength and resiliency of neighbours and individuals that can be appreciated during the lifetime of those who experience it.”
Submissions to the chronicles can be made electronically or by mail, but should include the submitter’s name and contact information. “General biographical information is encouraged,” she confirmed, “but it is up to each individual how much they wish to share about themselves.” Contributions can be anonymous and are not limited by age. Ms. Berry requests that captions are included for any photos or videos submitted.
The chronicles will be reviewable through a copy to be kept at the library, but the originals will be nestled in the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah collection.
Contributions can be sent to NEMI Public Library, PO Box 790, Little Current, ON, P0P 1K0 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of June 16, the public library will be entering the next stage of opening to the public, with the building open for pick-up and drop-off of borrowed materials, but browsing and handling of library materials will still not be permitted at this time. Library services such as printing, faxing, copying, internet access, used book purchases and computer use will be available.
“We are changing the set-up of the computers (normally located side by side) to allow for physical distancing,” said Ms. Berry. “There will be a limit of one computer terminal available and one patron per table to access wifi. Only one person will be allowed at the fax machine and in the used book sale area at a time.” Computer use by any one patron will be limited to one hour.
Patrons will also be asked to wash and sanitize their hands when entering the building as well as before and after using the computers or the copy machine. A distance of two metres from other patrons will also be required.
Materials can be placed on hold by using the online catalogue, by telephone or by email and staff will notify patrons when the materials are available for pick-up. When ready, materials can be picked up any time between 10 am and 2 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and returns should be facilitated through the use of the labeled drop off bin. As a safety precaution, returned materials will be held for three days before being shelved or available to the public again.