Mount Joy library ready for an almost normal summer after latest restriction lift

Milanof-Schock Library

MOUNT JOY, Pa. (WHTM) — With summer just kicking off, there are many things people look forward to. Vacations, beach days, amusement parks or even simple rest and relaxation in warm weather. For those at the Milanof-Schock Library, this summer season has been a year in the making.

“Our library closed midway through March 2020 but only stayed closed to the public until June 22,” Social Media and PR Manager Kirstin Rhoads said. “On June 11 we began taking requests from patrons for books and movies. We created a grab-and-go service on certain days of the week where we would check the books out to the patrons, and they would pick them up on our front porch during certain hours.”

While visitors on the inside were limited, the imagination to reach those outside the library walls was boundless. Guests of all ages tuned in to social media pages for a variety of activities. “I had live programs over the summer and in the fall, stopping with the November spike, then going live again in February of this year,” Children and Youth Services Director Jan Betty said.

“[Jan] visited Brubaker Farms and read to the cows in the field. She read to cats in the Columbia Animal Shelter. She had smoothie Tuesdays for teens and families. She kept the families engaged and some adult patrons shared how it kept them entertained since so many of them were stuck at home alone,” Rhoads said.

But now people are vaccinated, businesses are re-opening and capacity limits are disappearing. All good signs for libraries this summer. Milanof-Schock Library is going all out for the month of June with events ranging from summer reading to teen writing conferences to a ukulele one-man band.

It’s all part of a team effort to provide for a community that continues to support its local library. “The bottom line is that we have an amazing staff that knows the importance of what we have to offer the community,” Rhoads said. “Our Director at the time, Barbara Basile, worked tirelessly to make sure that we provided a safe and sanitary environment for the staff and the community.”

“Our patrons have been wonderfully cooperative about wearing masks and socially distancing, I really can’t say enough about how easy it was to remain open because of them,” Betty said. “Again, we can’t say enough good things about how amazing and courteous the people have been and not just our patrons, but many folks from around the county who needed our services.”

The one aspect of the pandemic that’s still sticking around, masks, and the Milanof-Schock Library is still asking for patrons to wear them inside. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it is safe for everyone to go mask-free.

When that day comes, Executive Director Joseph McIlhenney will find it rather…interesting. “I gotta tell you, taking a position like mine while everyone is masking up has been odd and interesting. Meeting so many people and seeing only one-third of their face,” McIlhenney said. “I went weeks before seeing some co-workers without a mask. When the mask restriction is lifted, and I get to see everyone, it will be terrific and, um, odd. It will almost be like I’ll be meeting them for the first time again.”

A familiar feeling that almost all of us have experienced. “With most businesses closed for so long,” Rhoads said. “We were all that some people had.”

To learn more or register for events at the Milanof-Schock Library you can call 717-653-1510 or visit their website through the link here.

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