By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND — During this pandemic many have found themselves locked up in their homes unable to find inspiration.
Wayland Free Library found a way to reinvent themselves during the Covid-19 shutdown by creating 14 different online groups to keep people’s spirits alive.
The groups are the following; Wayland Free Library Writer’s and Poets Group, Wayland Free Library Photography Group, Wayland Free Library Local History Lovers Group, Wayland Free Library Music Lovers Group, Wayland Free Library Creative Community Group, Wayland Free Library Book Lovers Unite Group, Wayland Free Library Technology Tips and Tricks Group, Wayland Free Library Discovers STEAM Group, Wayland Free Library Pet Lovers Group, Wayland Free Library Community Heroes Group, Wayland Free Library Let’s Get Baking and Cooking Group, Wayland Free Library Movies and Shows Group, and Wayland Free Library Community Gardeners Group. All of these groups are found on Facebook.
Jean McMillan came up with the idea during story time on Wayland Free Library Storytime Group to have a Bear Hunt. The idea was to shine some light for the community as they take social distancing walks in the area.
The Wayland Free Library will have the Bear Hunt on until April 30. The idea is that people will put stuffed Teddy Bears in the windows so that anyone walking by can take selfies with the Teddy Bears.
“Folks put stuffed bears in the windows so children and others can look for them on their social distancing walks around town. It is just something fun to do when things are so serious right now. It is way for us all to communicate without words,” McMillan said. “It just seems to me like people want some positive diversions. A scavenger hunt like this doesn’t require any equipment or rules. It is all self-motivated and the pleasure is found in the discovery. None of us at the library knew what to expect when I suggested it. Folks who cannot leave the house can still be part of this by putting up bears in the windows.”
The idea is that local businesses can put bears up in the windows too.
Wayland Free Library Director Jen Farr said the library staff members are all in charge of the groups online. They are all doing what they can to lift people up in this hard time. When the Bear Hunt came up it was inspired by what they are doing in Cohocton. Farr is asking anyone who takes photos of the bears or with them to put them on the Wayland Free Library pages so we all can see them.
“We are all trying to think of ways to bring everyone together in some small way. We have three stuffed bears at the library too. People like putting up their old teddy bears in the windows. It makes them all feel like they are part of something. The kids can all walk by and get excited about something. Jackie Kelly is our new children program person and she is working from her cellar. She has all sorts of creative ideas from home to help children through this hard time,” she said. “We are just seeing what people want us to do, and how they are all responding to our groups during this the shutdown. We like bringing different interests and groups together. If anyone has any more ideas they can let us know online.”
Farr has done some special care with her staff during this shutdown to let them know we are all in this thing together.
“I wanted to keep my staff working even though we are shutdown. I was able to keep their spirits up with the group pages. We are all doing what we can for now. I am very proud of everyone on my staff,” she said. “Members of the community can still have access to books, music, and materials online. They just go to our Wayland Free Library Facebook and there will be a banner up top to link to our emails. They can give us their numbers and names. We can get them linked to a card and pin to access everything. We are now open all the time online. The children and parents can have access to everything.”
Farr is only having a librarian work twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday to handle the flow of online users wanting access to cards. There will be a list so everyone needs to be aware it could take a few days.
As all the libraries are closed now until further notice only one person can be in the library to work on things such as online stuff or cleaning the library.