Albert Lea library bringing back more in-person programs for all ages

Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

By Alex Guerrero

A lot of things changed when COVID-19 first surfaced a little less than two years ago. Borders were closed, events canceled and day-to-day life was disrupted.

“When the pandemic hit we transitioned to virtual programs,” said Annice Sevett, director for Albert Lea Public Library. 

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The library also had author visits and lectures that would draw in anywhere from 50 to 75 visitors.

But just as life constantly changes around us, nothing stays the same. That includes COVID-19. So while the coronavirus, and all of its variants, will likely be here for good, at some point the disease will become something akin to a typical influenza, and yearly shots will mitigate the disease’s impact.

And life can move on to something akin to what it was pre-pandemic.

To that effect, Sevett is already planning on what she and her staff can do next.

So starting next week, library staff will bring back Children’s Storytime and Music and Movement and book club. She’ll also reintroduce some of the smaller adult programming.

Storytime is an early-literacy program for preschoolers.

And with the change of hours, night-time storytime will also be introduced for those who can’t make an early session.

“We haven’t offered that in a long time,” she said. 

Sevett and her team started preparing for in-person events back in November when she reintroduced storytime and Music and Movement.

“Our numbers for the in-person programs were pretty limited, so we were able to successfully social distance kids from the same household and families,” she said. “With that kind of trial-run we’re confident that we can successfully hold indoor programs and [keep] people as safe as possible.”   

Sevett plans to keep some of the changes brought on by the pandemic permanent, including the no-contact curbside pickup as well as the take-home craft kits from storytime.

Masks and social distancing will still be required for anyone over 2.

Looking ahead, she wants to have family events during the first Sunday and Tuesday of every month.

“[They’re] going to be like a different craft activity,” she said. “… One Sunday we’ll do clay sculptures.”

She also mentioned a trivia event.

The library will also introduce discovery kits for both children and adults.