BY EMILY GRAHAM
Local libraries have been celebrating Love Your Library Month in February, a time dedicated to giving back to community libraries.
The Ashland Public Library is recognizing the observance for the first time this year with a used book sale.
“We haven’t been able to do much programming recently, and we wanted some way that people could come into the library, have a little bit of time out of the house and still be socially distanced and safe,” Director Margaret Schachte said.
Schachte said the library usually gives books out throughout the year, but many events last year were canceled due to COVID-19.
“We usually save them up for book bingo in the summer, and we give books out to the kids at Halloween,” Schachte said. “Last year, we didn’t have any of those events, so we have a lot of books leftover. I figured this is the best way to get them back into the community.”
The sale was originally scheduled to run for one week, but Schachte said the library has gotten more book donations, so they might extend the sale.
“This is the first time we’ve done it, but everyone seems to really like it, so maybe we’ll do it again next year,” Schachte said.
Schachte said supporting the library is important because it provides resources for the entire community.
“People need us now more than ever with applying for unemployment, trying to find new jobs, trying to figure out when they could get the COVID vaccine,” Schachte said. “We also provide a place for people to access the internet during this time, because a lot of people are struggling financially, so it’s nice to have those resources available in the community.”
The Orwigsburg Area Free Public Library has been putting up a giving tree for Love Your Library Month for a few years, according to Director Claudia Gross.
“We always tell everybody that we love our patrons all year long,” Gross said. “But in February, we ask them to give us back a little bit of love.”
The giving tree ranges from monetary donations starting at $1 as well as other items the library needs, like dish detergent and playing cards.
Gross said the pandemic has canceled some of the library’s fundraisers in the past year, but the library has still been doing well.
“We are open six days a week, and we have days that are busier than others, but there’s never been a day that we don’t have people in here using the library,” Gross said.
The library has found new ways to engage the community, such as creating a YouTube channel, giving out craft bags and offering curbside pickup. Pottsville district libraries also use Beanstack, a virtual library app.
“We continue to move forward and reinvent ourselves continually, which we did before the pandemic, too,” Gross said. “I really think libraries have met lots of different challenges.”
Other libraries celebrating Love Your Library Month include the Mahanoy City Public Library, which is offering a chance to win a prize for any child who registers for a library card, and the Ringtown Area Library, which is looking to raise $500 in donations during February.