by KATE EVANS
Morgan County Public Library and Paw Paw Public Library are still providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff is planning for holiday activities beginning this month.
Morgan County Public Library library director Sarah Drennan said that the library would be offering their annual Santa’s Mailbox this year beginning next Monday, November 16. The mailbox will be outside at the bottom of the front steps.
Children can write letters to Santa Claus and every child will get a reply, Drennan said. They’ll have a desk inside with everything that a child will need to write Sa
nta. Parents should make sure that their child’s letter has their return address on it.
Gingerbread baking contest
The library is having a gingerbread baking contest that will kick off this week. The contest is for all ages — young and old — and anything goes. The gingerbread entry can be homemade from scratch or be a kit from the store. It doesn’t have to be a gingerbread house-it can be a castle or any building creation. People can enter individually or as a group effort.
The gingerbread creations must be dropped off between this Thursday, November 12 and Saturday, November 14. The contest entries will be on display from Monday, November 16 through Saturday, November 21.
The public will vote on their favorites and prizes will be awarded for adults and children. Drennan said they’re hoping for a good turnout.
If contestants want their gingerbread entry back, they need to pick it up before Thanksgiving on November 23 or November 24, she noted.
Drennan said they were also putting together craft bags for kids for Christmas and the holidays. Their Thanksgiving craft bags are already gone.
Christmas movies, books
The Morgan County Public Library has more than 60 holiday movies in their Christmas collection along with 12 new additional Christmas movies, Drennan said. Movies range from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” to holiday romance and a Thomas Kinkade triple movie feature.
There’s also a spin rack full of paperbacks free for the taking that has three shelves of Christmas-themed paperbacks that people are welcome to have, she said.
New library books include Heather Graham’s “Deadly Touch” — an adult paranormal mystery murder, “Valley of Fires” an adult science fiction book and a new children’s book by Meg Medina-“Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away”-that Drennan said is a fantastic story.
Drennan said that things are going pretty well at the library-they haven’t had to shut down since the governor said libraries could reopen. People are coming to the library and staying socially distant. In a small town, large crowds aren’t usually a problem at the library. They’re not hosting groups or having storytime.
“We’re trying to make it work,” she said.
Morgan County Public Library is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Paw Paw Public Library
Paw Paw Public Library has been closed during the weeks that Morgan County Schools and Paw Paw Schools have been closed for remote learning due to COVID-19, said children’s librarian Janice Ross. Their library board decided it was best since they are a small library. They’re taking things one week at a time, said Ross.
People can request books by phone. The Paw Paw library offers a curbside book service where they put a requested book in a bag and place it outside on a cart. Ross said they have patrons call them when they’re coming to pick up the book so it’s not outside long and they can confirm delivery.
The library held a book bingo and a “Once Upon a Time” photo contest. They’ll be making a calendar with photos from the contest. Everyone learned a lot about old structures in Paw Paw from the photo contest, Ross said.
The old mayor’s house was a featured structure — it has an old jail cell in it like in Mayberry, the fictional town from the “Andy Griffith Show.”
The library also held a pumpkin decorating contest and met at the park in August for a day of social distancing games and making bird houses and painted rocks.
New children’s books
New children’s books and series at the library include: “I am Enough” by Grace Byers, “Kindness Rocks” by Sonica Ellis and a “A Little Spot of Life Skills” by Diane Alber, which includes books on teamwork, courage, being thankful and giving, Ross said.
One Thanksgiving book is “Gobble Gobble Mr. Wobble” by Becky Cummings.
Ross said that she and library director Virginia DeFrancesco haven’t had a chance yet to plan the holiday activities. They’re hoping to do their main Christmas event where kids can meet Santa, even if it’s in the park under the gazebo. There’s no date set yet.
Ross said they made Christmas ornaments last year for five weeks before Christmas. She’s hoping to make Christmas ornaments with children again. They haven’t been able to have their children’s programs.
“I really miss my kids on Friday,” she said of her storytime and crafts activities.
Ross said she’s been putting together children’s library packets that have coloring pages for the season, a topic for the week (Halloween or fall), a craft and a reading page of poems or stories for parents to use with their kids.
Ross said the Paw Paw Public Library is usually open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but is closed if schools are closed, Ross said. A total of five people are allowed inside at a time. It’s best for people to call ahead to visit the library. The library number is 304-947-7013. Patrons can also check their Facebook page which is updated regularly.