Wood Library and Silver Linings

This essay by Library Director Jenny Goodemote appeared in the Canandaigua Daily Messenger, Sunday, April 4, 2021

The past year challenged us in ways we never expected.  Some days were a struggle.  Others were tolerable, thanks to genuine acts of kindness and stories of resilience pushing us to carry on.

An important part of Wood Library’s mission is to provide information and services that people need to thrive.  The pandemic forced us to reimagine library services and experiment with new ways to connect with our patrons.

In 2020, we embraced technology and social media to create and share 312 uplifting virtual programs that were viewed by thousands of people.  We banded together with other libraries and invested in more downloadable audiobooks and ebooks, increasing the number available to the public by more than 1,624%!  We issued 143 digital library cards and allowed Canandaigua students to download digital content through OWWL2Go using their Braves accounts.  And—we raised funds to expand our WiFi capacity so people can connect to the internet whenever they need it from anywhere on our property.

As more people turned to books and the library for comfort and information, we initiated curbside delivery service and created opportunities for people to connect in meaningful ways.  Even when the library was closed for a period of time last Spring, staff responded to questions, supported patrons, and fulfilled requests.  The Library Board approved a contingency budget and updated policies to sustain library operations and ensure that the library building was a safe place when we reopened.

The library is now open six days a week and it is starting to feel like we are turning a corner with the worst of the pandemic behind us—yet we must continue to make every effort to meet people where they are and provide the essential services they need and count on to make their lives easier and better.  In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to prioritize digital services and virtual programs.  At the same time, we are planning for a future that includes both in-person and virtual opportunities for learning, creating, and collaboration.

I am pleased to announce that several items and services that were off-line due to the pandemic will return this month.  Starting April 6, fishing poles, adventure backpacks, wellness kits, and outdoor family games will be available for checkout.  We are reopening the periodical and magazine room for browsing and replacing seating throughout the building.  Notary services will be available by appointment. The public computers and copiers are available whenever the building is open and you don’t need a library card to use them.

As we continue to adapt as an organization and meet the challenges of our time, we have embraced the silver linings.  We will continue to offer life-enriching services and programs that bring people comfort and joy in formats that are accessible.  We are grateful for the community’s continued support as it allows us to serve our neighbors and help them thrive.

Learn more about Wood Library at woodlibrary.org or call 585.394.1381 for information.