In a society that was constantly morphing to adapt to the effects of the global pandemic, local libraries were faced with creating a safe and responsible way to bring events back to the community.
At first the solution to this was to host virtual events. As the stay-at-home order was slowly lifted, librarians and other team members at the Ponte Vedra Branch Public Library pulled together their resources to host events over Zoom, the popular video-calling website. They hosted kids Lego clubs, dance classes, artist talks and more. The library still continues to host events this way, but recently they tested out a new method of community activities.
On Feb. 11, the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Public Library hosted its first in-person event since the start of the pandemic, which was called “Family Storytime at Bird Island Park.”
As the name suggests, the library partnered with the St. John’s County Parks and Recreation team to host an in-person storytelling at the amphitheater located inside of Bird Island Park in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The event gathered together more than 25 excited families to hear Lisa Calvert, new youth services librarian at the Ponte Vedra Branch, read a story aloud. The library followed a safety protocol, which involved putting a capacity on the event by asking parents to RSVP, and socially distancing the seats within the amphitheater.
“It is great that we can adapt what we used to provide,” Calvert said.
The Ponte Vedra Branch is hoping to continue working with the St. John’s County Parks and Recreation team to bring more socially distanced and outdoor events to the amphitheater throughout the summer.
For now, the “Family Storytimes” will continue at Bird Island Park. Its next event, on Feb. 25, is already full but Calvert said that there will be two more readings at 10:30 a.m. on March 11 and March 25. Parents can reserve tickets for by calling the Ponte Vedra Branch Public Library.
For parents who want to involve their children with the library but would prefer not to be in a small crowd, virtual events are still happening daily.
Book clubs, such as the Erin Hunter Book Club, hosted by Calvert, will have its next Zoom meeting Feb. 25.
Ms. Kimberly, another librarian at the Ponte Vedra Branch, offers a “Crafternoon” twice a month, where she puts together craft kits filled with necessary items and offers an online video for families to follow at home as they craft with their children. On March 8, Ms. Kimberly will distribute a leprechaun-themed kit, and on March 22, it will be river otter-themed.
The librarians at the Ponte Vedra Branch Public Library feel fortunate they can now utilize the amphitheater in Bird Island Park to host in-person events. The library itself is also open five days per week, and librarians recommend stopping by to pick out a new book or ask for recommendations at any time during their library hours, which are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursdays and Friday; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.