We’re still here for you!

This Guest Opinion by Library Director, Amber Mathewson, was published in the Arizona Daily Star on May 29, 2020.

It’s been a strange couple of months, to say the least. We have missed welcoming you with wide smiles into our safe spaces where people come together to learn, get help and discover new hobbies.

Fortunately, we’ve opened again for limited services! We’re offing curbside pickup, restricted computer use, and copying and faxing. We have put into place safety protocols to keep everyone safe, including social distancing, limiting the number of people inside buildings, increasing disinfecting efforts, and using cloth face coverings and gloves.

While we’re not seeing you in person as much as we would like, we are still here to serve you in every way we can. If you are not yet comfortable visiting us in person, we’re glad to offer a vast collection of digital books, movies, music and magazines, and an amazing assortment of learning and educational tools.

Looking for book recommendations? Having trouble with a streaming service? Need information about educational resources for kids, your small business, community resources for food and other basics needs, or authoritative health information? Don’t hesitate to contact us! We can be easily reached through the Infoline phone service (520-791-4401) or Ask a Librarian email service (AskALibrarian@pima.gov). 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries nationwide are asking themselves the same question: “What does the library of the future look like?” There are many unknowns, but one thing that is for certain: We are pursuing new ways to serve everyone.

While we do not know when we will begin offering in-person programming again, we are brainstorming and evaluating the ways in which we can provide virtual programming and remote learning opportunities in early childhood and young adult services, Latinx programming, GED, Job Help, and digital literacy classes. We are also working hard behind the scenes with Amphitheater Unified School District and Tucson Unified School District to begin offering Summer Meals for children who most need them.

One great virtual program we’ve already put in place is Ready, Set, School! on Facebook Live. This free program, offered in English and Spanish, is for kids ages 4 to 5 to help them build school-ready skills through stories, songs, and interactive learning activities. Join us every Tuesday at 10 a.m. for our Spanish program and every Friday at 10 for our English program.

We’re sure you’re wondering about this year’s Summer Learning Program. Please stick with us as we work out the ways in which we’ll still offer this, using ReadSquared, an online tracking program and “We Belong in College,” a program for teens. We’re also exploring the possibility of hosting a virtual MegaMania. In addition, we’re hoping to have our annual book giveaway at the end of June or beginning of August. Please stay tuned by visiting our website at library.pima.gov or following us on Facebook (@pimacountylibrary). We’ll keep you posted!

It was once said that “a library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.” Although opening with limited services requires many moving, and in some cases, complicated parts, everything is worth it so that we can meet the needs of our community.

We, like you, are looking forward to the day we can resume normal services, reunite in person, and continue to build the relationships we so value and the reason we love coming to work every day.

Please stay safe, take care of one another, and reach out to us — we’re still here for you!