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Woodward, Perry libraries offer outdoor and virtual programs

T.K. West and Allison Ullmann - Correspondent and Editor
Children's Librarian Suzanne Kestel during a recent virtual program. PHOTO COURTESY OF PERRY PUBLIC LIBRARY

With spring events now coming to an end, public libraries throughout the Dallas County area are working to incorporate new summer programs for families and patrons to enjoy.

Woodward Public Library is opening its doors in phases, starting back on May 26, by appointment only. The library opened more fully on June 8. At that time, Library Director Myrna Griffith said that the library will monitor attendance in order to ensure that the building remains at 50 percent capacity.

Woodward Public Library is also working to incorporate outdoor activities throughout the upcoming summer months. These activities include a group of painted rocks that will be placed somewhere throughout the community and will contain words that make up a quote from a book.

In addition, the library will be hosting a “Where has Clifford, the Library Dog visited this week?” with a photo of “Clifford” posted on the library's Facebook Page and in the library's window.

“The object is to figure out where in the community Clifford is,” Griffith said. “This year will be just as much fun as in years past, but it includes outdoor events, to be doing outside activities.”

Other summer programs, such as the Perry Public Library, have turned to virtual options in an effort to continue to keep patrons and staff safe.

The Perry Public Library kicked off its virtual summer reading programs on June 1 and they will run through July 23. Library Director Mary Murphy said they have a variety of programs for kids, teens and adults.

“The virtual programming is kind of cool because what we're doing with the Kids in the Kitchen is there are food kits that go along with the programs and you can pick them up curbside once you sign up for it,” Murphy said. “It can be a little bit more interactive than just sitting looking at a screen. You're making something in your kitchen while we're making something in our kitchen, showing you.”

More information about the summer reading programs can be found at www.perry.lib.ia.us.

As for when the library will open its doors, Murphy said she has been keeping track of positive COVID-19 cases in Dallas County and looking at the data for the area.

“I'm taking it just one baby step at a time. I know everybody is anxious to get back into the library but I want to be safe for my staff and I want to be safe for the patrons,” Murphy said.

She added that they are also following reopening guidelines set at the federal, state and city level.

“I know that the board is listening and being cautious also about how much we should open,” Murphy said of the library board.

The Perry Public Library remains closed to the public but materials can now be returned in bins on the east side of the building. All of the materials, Murphy said, are being quarantined and then cleaned.

The library's curbside service has proved popular and Murphy said a lot of materials are now being returned to the library. The curbside service will continue to be offered from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday.

Murphy added that library staff have found ways to offer notary, copying and other services while following safety guidelines.

“We have tried to be as accommodating as we can to provide services with the social distancing, wearing masks and being safe,” she said.

For more information about library services and programs, call 515-465-3569.

“It just comes down to the fundamental of caring for each other and how we can care for each other the best is to do everything safely,” Murphy said.