Guest Column: Adjustments at library to better serve you

Published 8:08 pm Friday, December 11, 2020

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Guest Column by Annice Sevett


As the weather has gotten colder and outdoor entertainment options have dwindled, the Albert Lea Public Library recognizes that the needs of our community during this pandemic have shifted. As a result, the library has made some adjustments to our services to better serve you.

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In early November, the library changed its no-contact pickup hours to end before dark for the safety of our staff and patrons. Due to increased demand and community feedback, the library has added Sunday afternoon pickup hours (1 to 4 p.m.) to the schedule. Storytime and Music & Movement, in the virtual format, will return next year. Until then, we continue to hold family trivia and family craft nights, where everyone in the family is encouraged to get involved, whether it is to test your knowledge or to bring out your imagination.

Annice Sevett

Speaking of imagination, the Albert Lea Public Library is holding a fiction writing contest to encourage creativity in writing. Submit your fiction stories on the theme, “A Night in the Library.”

Judges from the community will rank the submissions, and prizes will be awarded to the top three works in each age group (grades 3-5, grades 6-8, high school and adult). Prizes will be in the form of Chamber Bucks so that winners can support businesses in our community.

Submissions are due Jan. 10. The library can’t wait to read what you dream up!

If creative writing is not your cup of tea, our annual winter reading program will start in January. In the past, this program has been for adults and teens, but this year the library is including everyone in the fun. Children will receive a BINGO card with reading-related activities to fill out to win prizes. Teens and adults can win by reading five books. Everyone who completes the program will receive a prize and be entered into the grand prize drawings. Stay tuned for more details in the new year.

Before the library closure, our DVD collection was for browsing only, which meant that you could not place holds on DVDs. Without the ability to browse our shelves in person, this proved to be a challenge. To remedy this, the library has made DVDs requestable. This allows you to place holds on DVDs and request DVDs from other libraries that the Albert Lea Public Library may not own. This switch allows you to get in the queue for the latest DVD releases or to request that hard-to-find documentary you always wanted to watch.

Another change with DVDs is the availability of Binge Bundles. Similar to Book Bundles, Binge Bundles consist of five DVDs or magazines hand-selected by a staff member to fit a theme of your choice. If you’ve dreamed of having a movie marathon of classic musicals or superhero stories, or you wish to learn everything you can about fashion, now you can!

Finally, our electronic resources were just given a boost in the form of almost 3,000 new magazines available for checkout on OverDrive. These magazines are available for a limited time, so don’t delay in downloading the latest issue of your favorites. Magazines are available on the Libby app or through the OverDrive website.

For more information about everything mentioned above or other library services, head to our website or call the library at 507-377-4350. While we may need to continue to adapt our services during this time, our commitment to serving the community remains unchanged.

Annice Sevett is the assistant director of the Albert Lea Public Library.