Summer programs will be ‘virtual’ at Shrewsbury Public Library

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – Staff at the Shrewsbury Public Library are working diligently behind the scenes to plan programs for a summer that will be unlike any other.

“It’s very, very tentative,” Library Director Priya Rathnam cautioned. “…We have to see the conditions locally.”

“It pains me to see the empty library parking lot and the quiet hallways in the library. But I would like to reassure residents that library staff are working remotely to plan and produce virtual programs,” she stated. “The Board of Library trustees and I are following guidelines from the governor’s office, town management, recommendations from the Board of Health, and consulting with state and regional library agencies while making plans for a phased reopening of the library.”

Staffing and hours of operation will look different. Furniture will be reconfigured and Plexiglas and signage to be added to facilitate physical distancing.

Rathnam is collaborating with neighboring libraries for a coordinated approach to reopening.

Meanwhile, plans are taking shape for summer programs. For now, they are planning on a virtual experience but are hoping that by the end of the summer programming can shift to a live, in person format. Plans include:

“Be a Part of History While Social Distancing.” Residents of Shrewsbury are invited to take part in a project to document the 2020 pandemic. The library is seeking photos taken in town to be added to a public website. Send your photos related to the pandemic, with a description, to splreference@cwmars.org.

“The goal is to make a searchable archive of this event for current and future generations,” Rathnam noted.

“Imagine Your Story!”  Is the theme for this year’s Statewide Summer Reading Program which begins Tuesday, June 29 and will conclude Friday, August 21. There will be fun and virtual programs for kids, teens and adults with prizes and raffles.

Children ages 5-12 and their families will be going on a “quest”. Children will start this imaginary quest by first creating their imaginary character. Each child-created character has been whisked away and transported to eight different magical worlds, all a different story genre ranging from Sci-fi to Fairytale.

The program for teens is very simple. No registration will be required. Librarians will post a Google form on Facebook or the form will be sent through the email listserv and students in Grades 7-12 can write reviews of books and audiobooks.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to participate. People are kind of tired of doing things online so we don’t have any sign-ins for the various programs…Let’s just make it a fun program,” Rathnam said.

Additional programs and activities are likely to be planned for teens and virtual writing workshops and book clubs for adults.

“Comic-Con” A virtual event for all ages is scheduled for July. The event will be spread over a few weeks and may potentially include  separate contests for  various age groups.

When asked about a Summer Reading kick-off, Rathnam said, “We may not be able to plan a summer reading kick-off this year but we may be able to plan an end-of-summer party.”

For more information visit https://shrewsburyma.gov/344/Library or phone 508-841-8533 and leave a message.