Kirkland Library offers activities to keep community engaged during pandemic

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CLINTON — As local businesses remain closed and as events are being canceled into the summer months while the precautionary period lengthens for the coronavirus, Kirkland Town Library has taken on an increased mission in providing opportunities for community members to get outside, remain active and help keep their minds off of this challenging time.

“Part of the library’s mission is to educate, engage and inspire the community. It’s been a unique and fun challenge to continue to offer services without having access to our building,” said Library Executive Director Anne Debraggio. “Fortunately, our staff is creative and always looking for ideas which connect us with each other — like the time capsule — or help us to weather these times better — like the Quarantine walks. We’re accustomed to thinking how we can serve our community — we’re just doing it a bit differently now.”  

One way the library is keeping community members moving is through its weekly Quarantine Walking Club.

“I came up with the idea of the Quarantine Walking Club when I was out for my own walk,” said Librarian/Assistant Director Laura Stoll. “I see so many people out walking too, and I wondered what routes they take. I thought this would be a fun way to try out some new paths.”

Each week, the 55 1/2 College St. library has a new route for people to follow, and it’s also shared it on the library’s website, www.kirklandtownlibrary.org, social media, and with printed copies at the KTL main entrance.

“We try to have a different theme each week,” said Stoll. “So far, we’ve done an introductory walk, a ‘cruise along the waterways of Clinton’ and a shorter route, as requested by a patron. Some upcoming themes we are working on are a literary walk, history walk, and one that explores the arts.”

And because many enjoy their “tunes” and musical escape during their walks, KTL has also come up with it’s own Spotify app playlist, “Quarantine Walking Club,” for anyone who would like to listen.

During a time of “social distancing,” Stoll said the walking club advises walkers to maintain a 6-foot distance between fellow walkers and be vigilant while out and about.

“Of course, we encourage everyone to be safe by following traffic laws, keeping 6 feet of distance with walking companions and wearing a mask if the sidewalks are crowded,” she said.

And there is no question that 2020 has already become quite the historic event, without even being half-way through the year. That is why the library has taken on the important project of creating a time capsule.

Since patrons cannot physically meet at the library, the capsule has gone “virtual,” but community members can still provide items and input.

“At this point, our time capsule is virtual. We’ve been soliciting ideas from patrons and then putting them on a Pinterest board,” Stoll explained. “At some point, we’ll get the physical items and put them together.”

On May 5, Stoll said KTL received an email from Sarah Gaetano, seventh grade English Language Arts teacher at Clinton Middle School. Her students came up with a list of the top 10 items they’d put in a time capsule.

“I asked her if the students would be willing to take photos or make videos of their choices — To be honest, I think it’s a bit of a challenge to think of things for the time capsule when we’re told to avoid touching things. So many of the things we are using these days aren’t tangible — the news, working from home, watching TV, etc. — or are in short supply, like toilet paper, masks, hand sanitizer, etc.,” the assistant director said.

To keep up-to-date on all the activities KTL continues to provide to the community during the crisis, visit the library’s website at www.kirklandtownlibrary.org.

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