GROVE CITY – Public libraries across Pennsylvania are closed in response to COVID-19, but local libraries are still reaching out to patrons.

Heather Baker, director of children’s programming at Grove City Community Library, has been delivering books to families throughout the community.

“I like being the book fairy,” she said.

While she can no longer make deliveries because of Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest order to close all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania, she’s glad she had a chance to make people smile.

“The kids waiting at the door all excited makes it wall worthwhile. It warms my heart to give back to my community,” Baker said.

Families contacted her via email to let them know what kinds of books they like to read.

The Melzer family of Grove City loved their special visit from Miss Heather on Wednesday.

“That was the highlight of their week. They were just so happy,” said Alaina Melzer, mother to Mason, 10, Willow, 8, and Ember, 2.

Baker included a treat and a note, and the books were delivered in a reusable bag. There were also two books for Melzer to enjoy, and the kids shared some of their Girl Scout cookies with Baker.

“It was so sweet of her,” Melzer said.

Books are very important and provide a good escape, especially in times of uncertainty, Baker said, noting her favorite quote from Mason Cooley:

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

Slippery Rock Community Library has been live-streaming videos on its Facebook page, including books read aloud by Tiffany Frampton, head of children’s programming.

“We’ve done all sorts of interactive things with social media,” said Karen Pierce, library director.

Copyright laws have been adjusted to allow libraries to share books this way, and Pierce is grateful for the cooperation. She hopes that more people recognize how important reading is.

The library has also shared a video of a dinosaur egg hatching, and the staff is planning scavenger hunts for kids and adults.

They asked followers to give suggestions for a “quarantune” song list. Ideas included “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, “Alone” by Heart, and “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany.

Pierce encourages folks to stay tuned to the page for more postings – little things to lift people’s spirits.

And for many families staying at home, now is a great opportunity to learn something new, like a skill or language.

There are also videos being shared of museum tours and art lessons, and programs being offered for free, like educational resources from Scholastic.

“They’re contributing to all of their communities,” she said. 

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