Written by Chad Dally
Staff at the Marathon County Public Library (MCPL) have been planning our summer programs for a couple of months now, and we have some details to share with the public about that. But first, some good news we’ve been looking forward to for more than a year…
We have a plan to reopen with regular, pre-pandemic hours.
At its April 2021 meeting, the MCPL Board of Trustees set a tentative date of Tuesday, June 1 for a reopening that includes evening hours (as well as Saturday hours) at all MCPL locations. (All of our 8 branches currently have at least one night each week when curbside pickup of books is available until 7 p.m., but our reopening will include evening hours for in-house browsing as well.)
Our ability to fully reopen on June 1 depends on local infection and vaccination rates, and we will continue consulting with the Marathon County Health Department for their guidance on reopening in way that protects public health and the health of our staff. For instance, even when we do away with our call-ahead appointment system for browsing and computer use:
- We may need to set occupancy limits based on the location size.
- We may still set aside several hours each week at MCPL branches when curbside pickup of material is the only option.
Still, this is the closest we’ve come to “normal” library operations in more than a year, and we are so excited to welcome our wonderful, loyal patrons back!
While the libraries will be open for browsing and computer use, maintaining distancing and other guidelines for those activities is a bit more manageable than accommodating a large group of people for a summer program. We’re happy to welcome people inside, but we’re still not to the point of hosting large groups of people in our libraries. (That’s no exaggeration, either: During a normal summer performance, it’s not uncommon to have 300–400 people gathered together in one place.)
However, we still have some great programs planned for this summer — including family story times outdoors! Several of our branches have themed story times planned for lawns around the library or parks adjacent to the libraries. (That’s something that might continue in 2022 and beyond anyway: Why not have some fun outside and enjoy the sunshine?)
Library pool day will be back! Use your library card for FREE entrance to any of Wausau’s 3 outdoor pools on August 3. One library card works for the whole family to get into either Schulenburg, Kaiser, or Memorial Park Pool.
We also plan to continue our very popular grab-and-go crafts throughout the summer. How popular, you ask? In March, our MCPL locations handed out nearly 700 kits so children and their parents or caregivers could create a 3D rainbow mobile! In summer 2021, we’ll have craft kits for all ages to make paper lanterns, mushrooms (craft ones, not the real ones), a “hotel” for bugs, macramé key chains, and more.
All of that happens in addition to our monthly book clubs, some of which will continue virtually while some others may gather safely outside if the weather cooperates.
Our usual summer brochure that normally lists events has been transformed into an activity booklet. Inside, you will find screen-free activities such as a word search, a maze, map-making, and a search-and-find activity. There is also a teen/adult version for any interested older siblings and caregivers. Pick one up at any MCPL location starting June 2021.
We’re really looking forward to seeing all of you again, and we’re thrilled to say that will happen sooner rather than later.
We thank all of your for your continued support, patience, and understanding — and we wish you all good health!
Library Specialist | Marathon County Public Library
Chad Dally is a library specialist with the Marathon County Public Library, where he’s worked since 2012. He splits his time at the library between reference and programming, and generally prefers to read nonfiction over fiction. Email Chad Dally
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