National Library Week is being celebrated a bit differently this year at the Perry Public Library.


Library Director Mary Murphy said they normally hand out cookies and hold a Food for Fines program. This year, she said they are keeping it simple with a food drive for the Perry Area Food Pantry.


Murphy said the food pantry is looking for donations of peanut butter, canned soup, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Donations of those items can be dropped off at the library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, April 24 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. A container has been placed outside on the East side of the library building to collect donations.


A special online storytime was also held on Wednesday, April 22 for Earth Day.


National Library Week is being celebrated from April 19-25. This year’s theme, “Find Your Place at the Library,” was updated because of COVID-19.


While National Library Week looked different, Murphy said staff members have continued to stay busy since the building closed to the public in mid-March because of COVID-19.


“In some ways, (we’re) busier than when people were here,” Murphy said.


The library’s curbside service has continued to be popular with patrons.


“We had a call from someone in Polk City who wanted a library card because we’re one of the few still doing curbside,” Murphy said.


After Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced that libraries should close to the public through April 30, Murphy said the State Library of Iowa clarified that curbside services could still be offered provided the service was being done in a safe manner.


Murphy added that library staff are following good hygiene practices. Books for the curbside service have been sitting in the library. No materials are allowed to return to the library. In addition, staff members deliver the collected books to patron’s trunks.


“It’s very appreciated by the patrons that come and get the books,” Murphy said.


Staff members are now working on what the summer reading program will look like.


“It’s hard, because I think that social distancing will continue to be a thing and how do we do summer reading when we can’t have programs or get together,” Murphy added.


All programming has been canceled through at least June 6. The library’s annual KidsFest was scheduled for June 6. Murphy said they are now planning to have a KidsFest finale on July 25.


“We can only plan as far as the variables will let us. We just look to see when we’re going to be able to socially gather again,” she said.


In the meantime, the library will be sending out a Summer Quest game board in the May water bills. Kids, teens and adults can complete quests, including having a picnic, going on a hike, reading outside, having a family movie night and more, between June 1 and July 23 for prizes.


The library may not be open to the public, but Murphy said it is still serving the needs of the community.


“We’re providing some sort of materials the best we can for our patrons, providing interesting online resources for them, we’re doing the Free Book Friday at the school with the grab-and-go lunches. I feel that we are serving a purpose,” Murphy added.


Community members are encouraged to visit the library’s website, https://www.perry.lib.ia.us/, and Facebook page to find more information about e-books, access to resources and more.


“Our mission statement is connecting our residents with information, ideas and experiences to enrich lives and strengthen our community,” Murphy said. “I think no matter what situation we’re in, that’s what we do.”