FONTANELLE — Fontanelle Public Library director Melissa Menefee gave her yearly update to the city council at their meeting Dec. 14.
Menefee reported she and the library board carried high expectations in several ways into 2020, however COVID-19 forced them to rethink those plans and cancel several of the things they had planned.
One of those things was two STEM toolboxes the library obtained earlier this year. The toolboxes had several STEM activities in them students could learn from, however because of the pandemic the library hasn’t been able to invite groups in to use those resources.
A recent project Menefee worked on and completed last week were holiday fun packs for children. She distributed 50 of them to children in the community. They included a craft and several other items to keep them busy during the holiday season.
The council approved a $4,000 boost to funding for the library in the upcoming year. Menefee said the areas this will be felt in the most are technology and cleaning supplies. She reports there has been an increased use of technology resources the library provides this year because of the increased learning and work that is happening at home.
“It’s been tough not being able to continue doing what we do throughout the year because most of it was canceled,” Menefee told the Fontanelle Observer in an interview last Thursday. “With internet costs and maintaining our secure internet service, especially now with some of the kids doing all online learning, we need to make sure our equipment is upgraded and in good condition so they can use it. Right now we’re also having extra expenses for cleaning supplies. The State Library did send us out a tote with masks and hand sanitizer in it. That was nice but it didn’t last very long.”
While extra activities may be canceled, the library has gradually opened back up and currently allows walk-in traffic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Staff are available on a case-by-case basis the other days of the week.
“We’re just trying to continue to help people as much as we can. People still need to continue on with what they’re doing in faxing or getting copies of certain things. That’s really important that we continue being there for the community,” Menefee said.