Punxsutawney Memorial Library adjusting to the changing times to provide essential services amid COVID restrictions

Staff Writer

In case you missed it, the Punxsutawney Memorial Library is open for business, even though there are some restrictions due to the COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The library was closed for four months, so what did the staff do while their access to the building was limited?

Jessica Church, Punxsutawney Memorial Library director, said that during the downtime, they were busy working on various projects. “Each staff member had their own projects and some work on the back end of things, with a focus on what they call ‘subject headings,’” Church said, adding that this process helps people find whatever it is that they may be searching for: dogs, careers, sports, etc.

Church said they can type those things into the system and it will pop up with the related books. “Over the years, different people have done different things with our catalogs, so we’ve been updating those so people can find the materials that they want to read,” she said.

Church also said that Nina Test, the library’s youth services coordinator, worked to transition from in-person programming to doing virtual programs, and she continues to hold special programs on Facebook and on the library website.

One thing Church said has come up frequently is a lot of requests for access to their book sale room, but since it’s an indoor space, they can’t offer that at this time. So, they came up with a solution. “We have lots of materials on carts and tables outside, and are all spaced to be socially distant,” Church said, adding that materials are for sale by donation, cash only — pay what you want, and take what you want.