2 It’s been just about one year since I stepped into the role of Director. Thinking back, I’m amazed at how much I learned over the course of the pandemic. It wasn’t apparent at the start, when we were in some instances just working to “get through the day.” But in hindsight, the year was filled with lessons, even if they weren’t the lessons I expected. Alone does not mean lonely. When the first stay-at-home orders were issued, I read them with incredulity. Not opening our library to the public was inconceivable. But in shor t order, we – and many other libraries and businesses across the nation – created new ways to stay in touch with customers. Whether it was Outreach Services staff calling seniors just to check on them, or IT installing chat software which allowed live reference service with patrons, we found ways to stay connected with our community. Of course, we’re still working to develop and strengthen those connections as conditions evolve. The real value of technology is not in what it can do, but how it connects us. While technology has always been part of the library, its value lies in our ability to maintain relationships while using it. Services have shifted to include contact-free options, such as genealogy research and technology training with patrons through virtual sessions. On the operational side, we adopted telecommuting to solve local problems and share strategies with leaders and library colleagues. Responsiveness - not reactiveness - is key. We can reimagine a library that serves everyone coming through the doors and connects with those currently unable or uncomfortable with coming to the library. We can revise our budget to prepare for whatever financial outlook may develop. We can build back our services to meet changing community needs and become a more flexible and adaptive library than we’ve ever needed to be in the past. With one wild year in the books, we go eyes wide open into 2021, ready for the challenges and successes we are sure to encounter. Stay tuned. Director’s Notes by Julianne Bedel 2020: A Look Back Our road to renewed library service March 12 • MCDL suspends Bookmobile service and public events, only to close by week’s end. April • Virtual events begin on MCDL’s YouTube channel. • eMedia use and digital card applications skyrocket. Patrons who had only read physical books, transition to eMedia. May • Patrons can pick up items put on hold before the closure. • Reference service by phone and Chat begins on mcdl.info . June 15 • MCDL opens with reduced hours. • Curbside Service debuts as a contact-free pick up option. Anytime Locker usage greatly increases. • Virtual Summer Reading game begins. • Walk up book drops open at all locations. Drive up book drops at Medina and Brunswick open weekends. August • Outreach Services staff begin Door Drop Delivery for previous Bookmobile patrons and resume materials pick up by family and friends and books by mail services. September • GEDTesting returns to Medina Library. October 19 • MCDL expands to current open hours. • Study rooms reopen on a limited basis. November 30 • MCDL announces revised protocol requiring all patrons ages five and older to wear a mask in library locations. December • MCDL closes doors for two weeks in response to Medina County’s COVID-19 purple designation. Patrons continue to have access to materials via Contact-Free Services. • Shop service debuts, allowing staff to be personal shoppers for patrons based on their requests. • Wi-Fi is boosted into all MCDL parking lots, providing quality internet access 24/7. 2021 • Virtual and limited in-person events continue. • Passport service slated to return. • A new Bookmobile will debut. Peruse this newsletter to see what's coming this spring!