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These days I’ve discovered I’m phenomenally grateful for the state library listserv. An email sent with the subject line What’s happening in your town? opened a flurry of communication.

Librarians, like so many people, have an innate desire to please. Want a book? We’ll get it. Have a problem? We’ll solve it.

Innumerable emails have debated the merits of closing libraries, first, then of leaving books out. No one seems concerned about theft or loss. The concern is, obviously, disease. How can you leave free books on the library’s porch and not expect a few loyal (and likely elderly) patrons to shuffle through those? The library is a place of congregation and chat. How do we suddenly shut that down? Close our doors and ask you not to come? And yet, we are.  I read:

Our town library has been closed to the public for two days. Staff is now being sent home to ride out the storm.

Be well and we’ll see you soon.

We’ll leave the wi-fi on for you.
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Last night, walking in the dark around empty Hardwick, we wandered by the melting ice rink. Hardwick, VT, Day 4

 

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

5 comments

  1. I use ListenUpVermont regularly for audiobooks while I work in the studio. I love it. But I dislike reading ebooks. I’m sad I didn’t get more library books before the shutdown, but we’re planning a neighborhood book swap on Sunday. Local library!

  2. I also feel obligated to write that there’s been significant concern among librarians about how long the coronavirus lives on paper, with no definitive answer. I understand the impetus for a book swap, but I would caution that you might want to reconsider, especially given the elderly age of many Vermont readers.

    Many libraries have opted to remove their external free books, for that reason, and to discourage congregating.

    Not cheery news…. I know.

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