Near the end of March, all library programs had to be cancelled due to the spread of Covid-19. Shortly thereafter, the library’s doors were closed. But our library did not actually close, it continues to carry on, though changed with our rapidly changing world. The programs that people so enjoyed attending in person are now enjoyed in another form through online programming. While practicing social distancing, people can, in the comfort of their own homes, participate in library programs. Many are still adapting to this new world; and of course, it will take some time to adjust. There is much tension and fear everywhere. The library provides a great outlet, a source for instilling the positive and combating an onslaught of alarming headlines.
Residents and visitors to our small village comment on its charm and beauty and praise our quaint library. The library’s annex, the little yellow house, where most programs had taken place can accommodate just so many participants for programs. Waiting lists were common for most popular events. Since our transition to virtual programs, something happened that brought about much needed joy. More and more people contacted us to sign up for programs. Those who would have been placed on waiting lists were free to participate. People from as far away as Colorado and Florida have been attending our virtual programs. There are no flyers of library programs circulating anymore to promote these events. Friends have been telling friends about our library and asking us if they can attend programs. One of those programs is our afternoon yoga workshops led by Maria Polhemus, who has been a part of our library for some time and has enriched our community with her special talents and good heart.
We asked those who participate in our weekly online yoga workshop to share their thoughts about this program and our library. Here is what they had to say:
Thank you for reaching out to us in these trying times. It feels so good to reconnect and find some meaning in our daily routine. As for my thoughts about the Library programs being resumed in the technological new format, I must say that it was a most welcome decision. This Coronavirus crisis has opened a full spectrum of unexpected scenarios that are affecting us in many ways. Our physical and mental health have been impacted, not to mention the economic toll it is imposing on us. Being able to reconnect with the people with whom we share a routine has meant a lot to me. It brings a much-needed sense of normalcy, even though we know we have entered a whole new life chapter.
Having my Tuesday afternoon yoga class back has brought a little bit of normalcy back into my life. I get to see my yoga buddies and share an hour of exercise with them. It provides a kind of punctuation to my week…for a while there all days had seemed the same.
The library makes a giant difference in my life all year by taking me out of my comfort zone just enough that I learn something new and have a wonderful time doing it. During this pandemic we are grateful, but on edge. It is really hard to be working harder than ever and teaching my children, but you know what? When Tuesday and Thursday come around with Maria’s Yoga somehow everything is more in perspective and conquerable after a few short minutes. I am thrilled that I signed up. I thank you, as does my family for creating amazing programs!
Reflection on my afternoon yoga classes: When I was young and going through a difficult situation my mother would always tell me “to make the best of it.” When the pandemic caused me to hunker down in my home, I thought of my mother’s wise words. I kept searching but wasn’t seeing how to make the best of it until Pawling library came to my rescue. I received an invitation from Donald at the library to continue my afternoon yoga classes using Zoom. This has turned out to be making the best out of a very bleak situation. Now, every Tuesday and Thursday, I look forward to connecting with Maria, our dedicated and always upbeat instructor and my yoga friends. In addition, the yoga classes are keeping my body and mind relaxed and positive. Lastly, joining yoga via Zoom forced me to learn new technology tricks which is the ultimate in that it helps grow new brain cells. What more could one ask for? Thanks Donald, Maria and Pawling library for making “the best of it”.
A patron of our library, who actively volunteers at the Pawling Resource Center, attended our new online book club and wrote to us expressing how nice it was to be able to see and speak to her friends. This was her very first Zoom meeting. She looks forward to seeing her friends again on 26th May for the next book club. While at home she makes masks for people in our community and drops them off at their homes. It is good to hear of this person reaching out to help others. We look forward to the day when the doors of the Pawling Library are open, and we see you in person. To all our patrons, good health, stay safe, and we’ll “see” you online.