Chris Ashmore, Director of the Jacksonville Public Library, is keeping busy while the library is shuttered to the public. He says there’s been a lot of organizational work to do. Ashmore says that he has been disinfecting books that they have been coming in through the drop box and shelving books. He is currently the only person in the building to answer phone calls. “I’m working on some projects, getting prepared on when we do open up if we do have some restrictions on that. It’s all going to be based on what health officials and the government recommends.”
Ashmore says non-residents wanting a library card can still get one despite the closure. “If you are a non-resident and you want to use our online resources which require a library card, whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, call us and we will get you on with a temporary card. There’s not always someone here to answer the phone or I can’t hear it ring, I will return the call. We will get you through the crisis with a library card so that you can use online resources at home.”
Ashmore says the library has moved to a virtual community for the time being with its host of digital services. He says that social media is also helping library goers stay busy, too. “If you visit our Facebook page, we’ve got virtual book clubs and our Story Times are being read in video form. We’ve been doing some poetry readings for National Poetry Month. Andy Mitchell, who works here and is a local poet, has been a part of that. We’ve been doing some of our craft programs online and things like that. If you head to the Facebook Page, there’s several different fun things to do every day.”
Ashmore says that the library will continue to follow directives by state and local leaders as to when the library can open back up to foot traffic. He says that he hopes people are using the library’s digital services to keep themselves informed, educated, and entertained during the continued stay at home order.