CHARLES TOWN—The Charles Town Library has initiated a project to collect stories about the pandemic from citizens of all ages.
The idea for the new venture began with library director Marcella Genz.
“We have been part of this community since the 1920s,” said Genz. “Gathering these stories will become part of our connected legacy. We would be remiss if we did not capture these memories for future generations.”
Brian Christopher, the library’s community outreach coordinator, said the library is reaching out to the community to write about how the pandemic has affected them.
“We’re all going through this,” Christopher said. “I’d like to get reactions from everybody. Students, police, parents, old and young adults and put these stories on the website. I’ll have different sections for each group on the website, www.ctlibrary.org.
Of course the increasing death toll from COVID-19 has hit far too many families.
Christopher said gathering pandemic stories specifically from children, letting them say how they have been coping or not coping with the pandemic, is particularly important. He said he plans to do an email blast to the school district, encouraging English teachers to give their students writing assignments to get the youngsters’ thoughts on the pandemic.
“It would be cathartic for young people. They have been carrying around a lot of feelings about the pandemic,” Christopher said. “This is a good way to help them by writing about what they have been going through. How does it feel to wear a mask? How were their holidays affected by the pandemic?”
Adults, too, have had many challenges to deal with that they have never faced before. Even delays in mail delivery, especially during the holidays, have been heartbreaking.
“I had a package that was mailed in south Florida Dec. 8. It arrived Jan. 6,” said Christopher.
People who want to contribute pandemic stories can send them in an email or an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to the library at 200 E. Washington St., Charles Town 25414.
Christopher added there are online resources to help participants get started writing about the pandemic. A simple search for “pandemic journal” results in a long list of topics for every age group, many of which are centered on students and how they can cope with the difficult situation through journaling. Library staff can help with other resources to help if needed.
The library followed the governor’s statewide guidelines for the pandemic, closing to the public March 15 last year. Porch and curbside service resumed on May 27. It reopened with limited capacity (eight patrons at a time) on July 20.
“It was such a relief to continue to provide our on site services to the community. We could reopen our doors to the public because the library is large enough to do so safely,” said Christopher. “We have four computers available to the public.”
Online services have continued along with new ones. One of these is hoopladigital.com where library patrons can put in their library card number and get free access to movies and TV shows.
“We want to continue our engagement with the community and provide resources even during the pandemic,” Christopher said.