WHYY: Amidst Pandemic, Chester County’s Libraries Played Key Role in Helping People Get Through Lockdown

Image via Avon Grove Library.

When coronavirus first started spreading throughout the region, Chester County’s libraries were flooded with people looking for books to help them get through lockdown, writes Ximena Conde for WHYY.

“We were basically second on the list for people’s priorities,” said Megan Walters, director of the Kennett Library. “They went to the grocery store, and then they came to the library to stock up on books.”

With empty shelves and the lockdown lasting longer than anyone expected, the county’s 18 libraries immediately started diverting money to buy e-books, e-magazines, and audiobooks.

They also began offering virtual programming, hosting online baking and knitting classes, tax prep seminars, Medicare Q&A, storytime for children, and much more. However, the move to digital required quick training for the librarians.

Lori Schwabenbauer, director of Avon Grove Library, said that while the staff had not been taking advantage of live-streaming options before, “when we’re pressed to do it and we have to do it, that’s what you end up doing.”

Additionally, libraries were a source of information on coronavirus, as well as places that continued to offer coat giveaways, among many other services.

Read more about Chester County’s libraries at WHYY here.

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