Craig Library opening under new guidelines

The Craig County Public Library is now able to open its doors again, albeit under certain restrictions to be cautious from the coronavirus. They are also having a membership drive and inviting all citizens to be a part of helping to keep the library afloat with a minimal membership donation of between $1 and $20.

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

For small counties like New Castle, the local library is an important and needed business. Craig’s Library is happy to announce its opening, though limited, and they look forward to seeing everyone.

“The Library Board is adjusting, but not stopping due to COVID-19,” Board member Jennifer Lovejoy said. “Our patrons need our resources and we want to make them available.”

On June 8, the Library’s Board enjoyed an outside meeting, abiding by the six-foot social distancing rules.

“Local lawn mowers were a challenge, but we persevered,” they said. “We discussed what options we have to continue service to the community as the Governor’s Executive Order 51 does not allow libraries to be fully open to the public.”

Governor Northam’s proposed reopening of June 10 has been put on hold until further notice.

So, they agreed, “The Craig County solution is to adapt and move on.”

A quote from Anne Herbert rings especially true today, “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

Their solution was to open the library by appointment only, to limit the number of people “in our tiny space.”

Staff members are keeping surfaces clean and asking patrons to respect the six-foot social distancing guidelines.

They also ask to limit computer time to 30 minutes per person if others are waiting. Again, appointments are necessary.

The library also has unlimited Wi-Fi that people may use in their vehicles 24/7 in the parking lot.

“We have also ordered new tablets to increase take-home options for our readers with children’s tablets soon to be ordered,” Lovejoy said before adding, “The stocked ‘Book Barn’ is available to purchase a bag full of books for family and friends.”

The library has in the past, hosted evenings to star-watch and welcomed community members to check out their telescope for night sky entertainment. “This is a summer to discover new forms of entertainment. Let your library help with that,” various members said.

Many other services are available at the public library: E-books and Kindles, audiobooks, Inter-Library loans, large print books, magazines and newspapers, movies (both VHS and DVDs), free Wi-Fi, computer use and training, printing and fax service, notary service, assistance with online job applications, voter registration forms, barn quilts and ornament sales, children’s programs and online certified courses such as universal and rocket language, test proctoring and tax forms.

Also, they have a community bulletin board and there are tourism resources at their Visitors Center.

Another option to get books are at the Little Libraries, which are located throughout Craig County with one in Paint Bank. “These locations may be closer to your home,” Lovejoy said.

They are bright yellow boxes which are shaped like a tiny house. The books are free to take and read. The idea is to take one and leave one or return it if one wishes.

They are located at Wilderness Adventure, The Town Park, Mountain Crafters in Paint Bank, Sinking Creek Store in Simmonsville, Hemlock Ridge Road and Route 621.

“We welcome sponsors to add other locations,” members shared. “If you would like a Little Library near your area, contact us. We provide the books for free if you will keep them stocked.”

The Board also announced that there are two seats open for re-election on the Library Board, which hold a two-year term.

Board President Susan Stimeling shared, “The future growth of our library has been redirected to change in a new manner. As you may be aware, our previous drive to acquire large grant funding is not an option at this time and we are called to step back and refocus. Your past input has been of great assistance in directing the progress and programs of our library, but now is the time to increase your voice and desired impact. We welcome your input through serving a two-year term. If interested, contact the library by July 13 to be nominated for a position. “

The community is invited to join the Friends of the Library as their membership drive is on. Only a small donation is asked – $5 for adults, $1 for children 18 and under, family $15 and business $20. Fill out the application and return it by June 30 by mail or in the book return box at the library and your name will be put in a drawing to win a $100 Gift Card at a Craig County business of your choice. One may download the application online or stop by the library and pick one up.

For appointments of availability to visit or with questions, contact the library at craiglibrary@swva.net or call (540) 864-8978.

Said Libba Bray, “The Library Card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of all human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy and ignorance.”

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