July 2020-June 2021
In June of 2020, the pandemic was raging, and we at AFCL, as with many institutions around the world, were closed to public. We offered curbside pick-up, which several of our patrons took advantage of. We also saw an increase in Wifi use and digital checkouts, as did most libraries. Spring had already brought a big change to our library, as long-time Library Assistant (and previous long-time volunteer) Joanne Malecki, retired, and part-timer Cala Glatz was promoted to replace her.
While we were closed to the public, our staff of two took the opportunity to make a mess of the place—two new (and badly-needed) bookshelves were delivered, which allowed us to rearrange things and make better use of our limited space. We also were able to sort through old files and paperwork, which allowed us to organize important and necessary documents into archival boxes.
Once we were able to reopen in mid-July, we attempted to bring a bit of fun to our patrons by offering Summer Reading “Imagine Your Story” outdoor story times and corresponding craft kits, but it was unsuccessful. We focused instead on continuing to organize and weed our collection, pulling outdated, irrelevant or damaged materials to make space for new titles. During this time, our only regular programming was Book Club, and we enjoyed being able to gather again, while masking and distancing, to discuss books. A highlight came in the fall as our Book Club participated in The Big Read and we handed out copies of Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters, a short story collection perfect for Halloween. (Many thanks for CCLS for providing the copies!)
Winter was just about keeping things going as we watched Covid-19 cases increase again, and we waited to see if it would mean more shut-downs. For many people unable to travel and visit family and friends, borrowing books and movies from the library was a great comfort, and one that we are honored and happy to provide. To bring some cheer and boost morale, we put together several to-go craft kits, and even managed to have a few people work on crafts in-house while watching Christmas claymation classics.
As 2021 began, hopes of the new year bringing positive changes were high. Indeed, Big Changes were coming for AFCL. In March, our Director of six years, Melissa Froah, announced she would be leaving, as she had accepted a Director position at the Corry Public Library in Corry, Pennsylvania. Cala Glatz, having been Library Assistant for about a year, applied and became Library Manager in April. One month later, Michele Varner joined the AFCL family as Library Assistant, new to the library world, but just the right fit. Together, Cala and Michele bring loads of creative energy and ideas, and a passion for books and learning.
At our Annual Meeting in June, we held elections for the Board of Trustees, and excitedly discussed the upcoming Summer Reading Program theme of Tails & Tales, which would bring back children’s programming and find us collaborating with the Clymer-French Creek Free Library for the first time!
2022-2026 Strategic Plan Goals:
Goal 1 – Library Services: Implement industry standards and best practices with regard to library services
Goal 2 – Arts & Culture: Offer creative programming and services to meet the needs of patrons and the community
Goal 3 – Human Resources: Ensure that staff and volunteers are adequately trained and supported
Goal 4 – Community Support: Strengthen the library through outreach and communication efforts directed to members, donors, and the community
Goal 5 – Organizational Development: Ensure organization sustainability through adequate planning, organizational policies, and governance oversight