For our series of Local People, Local Stories, Local Impact, we spoke with Lisa Lawless, Branch Librarian for Danbury Public Library, about how COVID19 has impacted their services.
Can you describe the feeling of having to close Danbury Public Library due to COVID19 restrictions?
“As a professional librarian, I never thought I would see the day that libraries closed their doors. Surreal does not even begin to describe it. Libraries have endured many changes over the years but are such a vital part of our society that not being able to open for our patrons (due to coronavirus) feels like a sacrilege. We cannot wait to get back to some semblance of normal.“
What did a normal day look like at Danbury Public Library before COVID19?
A normal day in Danbury includes the countless people that visit our local libraries every day to use the internet, find a job using NC Works, and borrow books from all across the state using NC Cardinal.
We are honored to share that Ancestry.com, which is usually only available for free use inside the library, is now available online by using our website nwrl.org.
There you will also find movies, audiobooks and e-books, kids books, newspapers, old high school yearbooks, and instructional videos to learn over 70 different languages, all FREE with your library card (which is also free).
Mad Science is a group that performs using science experiments. It’s really popular in the schools. They will come out dressed like a crazy scientist and engage the kids on whatever experiment they are doing. Every show I’ve seen is different, but every single one has been amazing. They really do a great job. Their website is madscience.org if you need more details.
Although borrowing books may be on hold for a bit longer, our website is fully functional with a plethora of services, including the ones listed above.
What is your favorite part of the Danbury Public Library?
My favorite part of Danbury Public Library is that we are also home to the Stokes County Bookmobile. Our driver, Jeannie Wall, goes all over Stokes County taking books to those who are homebound or elderly. Everyone is always so happy to see her!
There are not many things that will show up at your door for FREE just to make you happy, but it happens every day with the bookmobile. I cannot wait until we are able to get back out on the road and deliver books and magazines to those who truly appreciate it.
Every now and then, Jeannie will come back from that day’s route and have a pie that one of the patrons made for our staff, or a handmade Christmas ornament to put on our tree during the holidays. This is the kind of thing that sounds like the “good ol’ days” but is still part of ‘normal’ at Danbury Public Library.
What is something unique to the Danbury Public Library that residents should look into when COVID19 restrictions are lifted?
Danbury Public Library has many visitors to our Stokes County History Room where the largest chunk of county genealogical information is stored. We’ve had visitors come in to do research from all across the United States as well as other countries like China and France. We also have some amazing displays of historical items that include a piece of flexible sandstone (called limber grit) that is only found in five places across the world, one of which is Stokes County. It’s a rock but it really does bend! We have a gas mask from World War I that was used and donated by a Stokes County resident, and we even have a collection of old Bibles that were found in various places across the county, including one that once belonged to a slave that lived nearby.
We miss each and every one of you and look forward to seeing you soon, and serving you in any way we can in the meantime. Everyone stay safe and well.
-Lisa Lawless, Branch Librarian Danbury Public Library