Tuesday, March 23, 2010
To the Editor:
As Charles Dickens once penned, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
The storm that took most people by surprise resulted in 12,000 Westporters converging at the public library over March 14-16 to find warmth, a sense of security, and connectivity in both definitions of the word.
The same people who say “the library is like my second home” were finding it was their first home for two, three, and even four days. One person said,
“It was like having a friend’s house to go to.”
The library staff worked tirelessly and with tremendous grace while the library stayed open for longer hours. In addition to their regular responsibilities they ran out for extra power cords and food, set up extra tables, demonstrated how to link into the wireless network, checked phone numbers for you to call on the status of your situation, and looked up information on food spoilage following hours and days of no refrigeration.
As part of their dedication above and beyond the call of duty, they lent an ear to each person’s tale while often having one of their own.
Staff helped students with homework that was due the next day, and then the next and the next!
Many people renewed library cards, or got them for the first time, and discovered new areas of the library in search of an electrical outlet to charge their devices. Duplex outlets meant sharing with a stranger who became a new acquaintance by the end of an hour of charging.
Libraries have been taking on additional roles changing from a place with shelves of great books that you retrieve and leave, to community gathering places to debate, discuss and learn together.
This last week, albeit under extreme circumstances, was an illustration of that change. I invite you to continue to think of the public library as a place to connect even when you have access to electricity at home. We loved having you in droves and promise to serve you even better under more normal circumstances!
Posted 03/23/10 at 08:36 PM Permalink