BOONTON — When public institutions and businesses across New Jersey closed their doors on March 15, very few people could have foreseen that the state would be in lock-down mode 8 weeks later — with no firm end date in sight. The changes the coronavirus has wrought have been painful and anxious for everyone. However, these weeks have also shown how inventive and resilient we can be when challenged: Today, friends are enjoying social interaction via social media and online meeting platforms; public institutions and business owners are learning new ways to connect online with the community every day.
Boonton Holmes Public Library, too, has taken up the challenge of serving the town and its residents in spite of being off-limits to in-person visits. As early as week two into the coronavirus lock-down, the library took its popular Yoga for Beginners online via Facebook, and soon thereafter, Story Hour for Toddlers was added via Zoom twice a week. Allie DeCesare, the library’s Youth Services Librarian, comments. “I took all my MLIS degree classes online, so this was not as difficult as it could have been. I’m delighted that so many parents and their children have embraced online Story Hour.” The library’s long-running Fiber Arts Club and Adult Book Group also meet regularly online. “It’s a great way to connect in spite of being cooped up at home,” notes Annie Mizera, Program Associate. “People just enjoy hanging out and catching up.”
Now in week eight of online programs, the library has added popular movie nights for kids and grown-ups, respectively, and recently launched guided mindfulness meditation sessions via Youtube. The newest initiative, starting May 13, is “Happy Hour,” a weekly online event featuring lectures, craft sessions, music, games, and more. “We thought that people would welcome an hour or so of live interaction unconnected with COVID-19. Beverage optional!” says Lotte Newlin, Library Director. More activities and services are being added every week.
In addition to virtual programming, the library is also directing more resources towards digital content like movies, music, e-books, magazines, and much more. “Because of the fear of infection we are not lending out physical items,” says Ms. Newlin, “so investing in more downloadable materials was the natural choice. But we sure do look forward to welcoming our patrons back in the building when it’s safe again.”
The library’s online programs are free and open to the public and can be accessed by emailing email@example.com for registration and login details. Some online content does require a valid library card which can be obtained on the library’s website by clicking here.