Davin Kolderup: Changing with the times

The many unexpected events of 2020 presented all of us with unforeseen challenges, both here in Johnson County and around the world.

If you have children in your life, you know that they have faced even more unique obstacles as they continue to learn, play and grow into happy, healthy young people. Kids are amazingly resilient, but they need a strong and dedicated support system now more than ever. Here at Johnson County Public Library, we are committed to supporting you and the children in your life, as we all continue to navigate uncharted territory.

The library had to make significant changes to its service model in March, to comply with the orders of state and local health officials, and to follow the best practices of our professional organizations. The Indiana Library Federation and the American Library Association have been providing JCPL and other area libraries with expert guidance on safely providing materials and services to our patrons.

We’re not back to normal yet, but the library is open for business at our normal hours for “Grab and Go” browsing — short visits of 60 minutes or less so you can check out items, use our printers or say hello to your favorite librarian. And if you’d prefer not to come in at this time, we’ll be happy to bring out your materials via our curbside JCPL-to-Go service.

Before, during and after our reopening, we had to rethink how we can safely provide library services. Luckily, librarians are experts at changing with the times. Over the last 30 years, we’ve been pioneers in providing internet access to the public, teaching computers and technology to learners of all ages, and providing online copies of books, movies, music and more. Librarians embrace change and have continued to do so this year.

Many kids in Johnson County are learning online this year, either entirely from home or in a hybrid model. If your learners need a change of scenery, we’ve ensured that our wi-fi signal extends far beyond our branch buildings. All of our outdoor lawn areas now feature picnic tables with power outlets so you can spend as much time as you need within range of a free, superfast Internet connection.

The wide range of fun and educational children’s programming we offer are one of our best-loved services. Although we haven’t yet resumed in-person programming in the branch, we are offering a full slate of online children’s programming via Zoom, so your child can interact with their favorite children’s librarian. Favorite series like Tot Art and Kids Cooking will continue virtually, and you can enjoy a preschool storytime  at 10:30 a.m. every Monday-Thursday and Saturday. Select programs like our popular STEAM Workshop and Yoga Storytime are happening outdoors at JCPL branches.

You can enjoy a great story and fun outdoor activities anytime, at our JCPL StoryWalks. Located at parks around Johnson County including Independence Park in Greenwood, Windisch Park in Bargersville, Country Gate Park in New Whiteland, the Franklin Urban Forest and the Trafalgar Branch Library, Storywalks feature popular picture books on signposts along a scenic walking trail. You and your children can read the story and enjoy fun, literacy-friendly activities designed by librarians at each stop.

Maybe you’re homeschooling this year, or just want to supplement your kids’ learning with a variety of well-chosen books and other items. Our children’s librarians are standing by to help you select the perfect titles, whatever your little learner’s reading level or area of interest. You can fill out a simple form and we’ll put together a customized collection of library items for you to check out in the branch or via curbside pickup.

We will always believe in the power of a good book, but the library has so much more to offer to learners of all ages in our Library of Things collection, including family birdwatching kits, sewing machines, and STEAM kits, featuring fun interactive science activities for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve even got cake pans and cookie cutters for your next family baking day.

JCPL is honored to serve readers, learners, families and everyone else in the Johnson County community. Visit our website at pageafterpage.org to learn about everything described here and much more. We hope to see you at the library, online or in person, this winter. 

Davin Kolderup is the Clark Pleasant Branch Manager for the Johnson County Public Library. Library staff members share in writing this bi-monthly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].