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Monday, January 25th 2021
Dear Patrons:

It has been a tremendously difficult year for all of us, with a seemingly never-ending flood of bad news, worry, and stress. I am thrilled to bring you several amazing pieces of good news!

On November 2, the 54 part-time staff who were furloughed in June will be recalled to work. We have missed our colleagues so much and cannot wait to work with them again. Since we will be at full staff, we will return to a contactless pickup schedule much closer to our pre-pandemic hours. Brookline Village will be open four nights a week, and Coolidge Corner and Brookline Village will be open for longer shifts. In addition, we are delighted to offer new morning hours at Putterham on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Library will continue to offer Reference services via phone, email, and chat Monday-Thursday 9 AM - 9 PM and Friday 9 AM - 5 PM. All locations will remain closed on Sundays.

Starting November 2, the Library hours for contactless pickup will be as follows:

Brookline Village
Monday-Thursday: 9:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Friday-Saturday: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Coolidge Corner
Monday: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday: 9:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Wednesday: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday: 9:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Friday: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Putterham
Monday: 9:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Tuesday: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday: 9:30 AM - 8:30 PM
Thursday: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

On October 26, the Youth Services Team is proud to launch our Picture Book Surprise Bundles. This service will provide families with 10 randomly selected picture books without the need to place holds. Instead, families can request a "Picture Book Surprise" at the front desk and staff will be able to select 10 random books from a cart near the check out station. We hope that this makes it easier for families to access books to read with their children.

Craft-Along Kits have been so popular that we are seeking additional funding to offer more of them. There is nothing a librarian hates more than not being able to meet demand!

We have returned to normal loan periods, so please keep an eye on your accounts! Additionally, items that were checked out in the spring or summer are due on November 2. You can return materials at any time through the book drops at any Brookline Library location.

I know you are anxious to get back into the buildings, but we have been advised at this time that it isn’t safe for you, as cases are on the rise again. Rest assured that we will open for computer use and browsing as soon as we safely can. In the interim, please know that we are working hard on designing the library interiors, entrances and exits, etc. with the most stringent COVID guidelines in mind. Additionally, we have been working with Architects for Public Benefit to help regulate movement around the buildings. Architects for the Public Benefit are a team of two architects, one a Brookline resident and mom, who identified a need in municipal environments for professional guidance on managing our buildings safely during re-opening. We are very grateful for their pro bono assistance during this stressful time.

It has been a long seven months since we packed up and went home, not knowing what was going to happen next. Please indulge me as I praise some unsung heroes. The 40 full-time staff of the Library, who were left after our drastic budget cut, have served your community with distinction, dedication, and grace. Within two weeks of shutting down, they pivoted to online programming and ramped up a very robust catalog of programs. From then on, the services cascaded out: chat reference, phone reference, email reference, captioned program recordings, readers advisory lists, heritage month celebrations and book recommendations, developing partnerships to deliver library materials to those who can’t leave the house, UDEMY e-learning, reservation-based pickup, walkup pickup… it goes on and on. The amount of services they have produced is staggering, and each one is of high quality.

Behind the scenes, they accepted schedule and location changes with aplomb. The whole reference team moved to Coolidge Corner. Two Department Heads moved to Putterham. Hours of service changed, then changed again. They worked in rotations, and then some came back to the buildings full time. The Custodians worked nonstop, helping when we housed the firefighters, installing new furnishings, and sprucing up all the buildings, which look brand new thanks to their loving care. The Administrative Team learned a whole new set of skills in order to be able to process payroll, approve bills, and work on the schedule on the days that they worked from home. They learned to host our monthly Trustee meetings and frequent subcommittee meetings on Webex, then Zoom, and to host library staff meetings on Google Meet. The Tech Services Team processed all the new books that were ordered before, during, and after the lockdown, and continues to crank them out so that you can have the newest books as fast as possible. Youth Services got a beautiful redesign of the Brookline Village Children’s Room and have been hosting successful storytimes multiple times a week, as well as making the Teen Stress Less Kits and many of the craft-along kits! And of course the above mentioned new service of Picture Book Surprise Bundles! Reference, Circulation, and Branch Services teams pitched in full time with all of the above.

I think it is important for the community to know how very fortunate they are to have such a dedicated, creative, thoughtful team of professionals serving them. I know I am eternally amazed by them and consider myself the luckiest Library Director to have the privilege to know them and work with them.

I hope you are all healthy and well.
Best,
Sara Slymon
Library Director

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