As the novel coronavirus has spread across the world it has impacted nearly every aspect of life. Libraries have not been immune from the effects.
The Swanton Public Library is facing financial challenges, according to Director Adam Walter.
“We have seen a significant drop in our state funding,” he said. “All libraries in Ohio are now being affected by this drop in tax revenue during the quarantine. The predictions for losses range around 20%.”
At least partly because of those predictions, library employees have been impacted. At an emergency board meeting at the beginning of April, the library trustees decided that furloughing the majority of employees would be the best decision.
“This allows them to still collect unemployment and also remain covered under the library’s health care plan and collecting benefits that are offered such as sick leave and retirement,” said Walter. “This was not an easy decision, several other options were considered.”
Despite the closure of the library and the furloughs, the Swanton library is able to still offer some services to patrons.
The library’s WiFi is on 24 hours a day. Anyone within range is welcome to use it.
“We updated our WiFi earlier this year, so it now has a wider range,” said Walter. “Keeping social distancing in mind, people are welcome to be on the library grounds while we are closed.”
Swanton Public Library also continues to offer access to the Ohio Digital Library for all card holders. There they can gain access to ebooks, audio books, and other media. If anyone wants to learn more, they can contact the library through its website, www.swantonpubliclibrary.org or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrons can also call 419-826-2760 and leave a voicemail.
“We are all dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and we appreciate the communities’ understanding,” said Walter. “If there were a time for libraries to be a valuable resource, it is now. SPL provides access to books, movies, games, internet access and much more.”
At this point, there is no definitive re-open date for the library. Officials are waiting to hear more about the new regulations for public places before making a decision.
”Unfortunately, we cannot be open to offer our resources. This has been a trying time for everyone, and SPL staff looks forward to reopening and providing access to all of our services,” Walter said. “We will continue to do our best and keep the community updated.”