March Library News

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OTIS LIBRARY & MUSEUM                                                                                             MARCH 2021

On March 13, 2020, the library closed because there was an emerging virus.  A year later with over 475,000 deaths nationally, and approximately 27,127,858 total cases in over 57 National jurisdictions, with at least two vaccines, possibly three serving the population I am working toward reopening this spring.  I know it will not be normal, so I am finding creative and productive ways to address your needs and desires. The CDC released this week, February 15, 2021, the 5 Mitigations for opening classrooms.  I look at the Otis Library & Museum as the classroom for the Otis community.  When the numbers are down, and Otis is either yellow or green, and the mitigations; mandatory facemasks, physical distancing; washing hands; cleaning facilities and improving ventilation; and contact tracing, isolation and quarantine are in place we will be excited to open the library. We are getting ready.

Throughout this year we have added over 200 new books, and audiobooks, more than 50 magazines have been shelved and there are over 100 DVD’s for viewing.  We will publish and post the complete list of items added since March 2020.  This list will be available on the town website, and it will be available upon request by contacting 413-269-0109, or, or you can access this by browsing the Otis catalog at  Soon you will be able to come in and see these items on display, until then simply request them and we will get them to you curbside.  Curbside pickup is available Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 11:00 to 5:00 and Saturday 9:00 to 12:00 noon.

We have learned to reach out differently using zoom sessions, emails, phone conversations, and the town website.  We will open with appointments to control the social distancing. Seeing your faces (with masks) and having personal conversations will be refreshing.  We look forward to hearing your stories.

We are fortunate to have trustees that addressed our needs for proper air circulation and purification and for following all safety precautions for the staff, patrons, and other visitors.  Through their unanimous endorsement three Industrial UV 614 Air Purifiers from AIRPURA and one Air Doctor machine have been installed in the building.  This investment will allows us to open the library soon.

Our bimonthly story walks hosted by our trustees Donna Rich and Susan Ebitz and South Berkshire Kids worker Anina Carr, have provided outdoor family activities that encourage literacy, mindfulness, and wellness.  We acknowledge the importance of activities in outdoor spaces and we will continue these activities, and we look forward to adding more.

We received a grant from the American Library Association for the design and implementation of communication sessions to develop an awareness and appreciation of Diversity.  Our connections with the new town group Diverse Otis, the Otis Historic Commission, and the Otis Cultural Council will provide more events and activities for all ages.

We are renewing our museum passes so you can venture out through the area.  We want to know what you would like to see, what you want to learn, and what you want to do.  Also, it is time to look ahead and plan for the summer.  Most of all we want to start sharing our library with you in person.

It has been a time of reflection, examination, and creative planning.  We are planning to add learning experiences and workshops.  We have learned much, and we realize we have so much more to learn.  Remote learning, virtual sessions, and sharing sessions have become today’s communication vehicles. We will share these technologies as we move forward.

Until our dreams to reopen the Otis Library come true please continue to be safe.  Wear a facemask even if you have been vaccinated, wash your hands frequently, keep your social distance, stay in your social pods.    Remember vaccination is not a Get Out of Jail Free Card!