The Osceola Public Library underwent huge changes in 2020 with staffing, hours and programing. Now in 2021 the OPL is looking ahead to what changes, challenges and opportunities may come.
Francis Acland took up the role of Library Director in 2020 and is looking forward to seeing many positive changes in 2021. The biggest change that will come in the spring is the OPL parking lot project. Across the street from the library the lot was cleared in late summer and County Concrete won the bid.
“We are going to be the first project that County Concrete does,” said Acland. “I’d say, depending on the weather, it’ll be probably March or April when they can start. So it will be done this year.”
The concrete parking lot will not take up the entire space purchased by the OPL so building a shelter or gazeebo structure is currently being talked about.
New lighting is being put in at the OPL now. The children’s library has already had all the florescent bulbs replaced with LED and the upstairs is next.
“I’ll not only be more cost effective but it’s also brighter,” said Acland. “Mike Henry has been kind enough to help us out with that.”
Another new program starting in the spring will be the “Seed Library”. Over 20 different varieties of heirloom vegetable seeds will be free to patrons to take home and plant. Those who “check out” these seeds should then save seeds back from their plants and return them to the library for someone else to “check out” next year.
“There will be no cost for participating. We have corn, beans, beats, peas, all kinds of things will be available,” said Acland.
The libraries month book club is still going on in hybrid format. Library Assistant Lonna McDonough leads the monthly discussions with 10 participants able to gather in person at the library and the rest join in via Zoom. To participate patrons just need to request the Zoom link be sent to their email.
Author visits have been tough to schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions but the OPL is currently scheduling a chat with Maggie Rivers, author of the Stiletto Girls to happen in 2021.
Krista Woodard, OPL Children’s Librarian is planning for summer programming already.
“The performers that we are contracting with for summer, we have three so far and we usually have about four. Two of the three agreed to being here and doing their program outside,” said Woodard.
The children’s library has robotics and Woodard is planning to have single family units schedule times to come in so children can practice since any competitions have had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Woodward is currently planning a new program to the OPL called “1,000 books before kindergarten”. Many children’s libraries participate in this program across the country to encourage early literacy skills.
“You’ll get a log to fill out when you read to your child,” said Woodard. “It might sound like a lot but if you just read one book every night that’s 365 in a year so it’s really doable.”
Another thing that Woodard is working on for 2021 is the “Library of Things”. With two sewing machines, a microscope, a manual die cutting machine and more OPL patrons could either check out or make an appointment to use the various tools and machines for projects.
Grab bag crafts, children’s story time and a DIY craft area are also still happening at the children’s library. Computers on both levels are available for patrons as well.
“I feel like people are very happy that we’re open. While there are a lot of places they can’t go, the library is one of the places they can go,” said Acland.