Conshohocken Free Library , a conversation with Sydney Mason – Librarian
by Brian Coll
I, Brian Coll am President of the Conshohocken Free Library. I wanted to talk to our branch manager, Sydney Mason about some of the changes at the library due to Covid, how the library and staff have adapted in the past few months and what it means for you…
I’m talking to Sydney Mason, Librarian at the Conshohocken Free Library. Thank you for taking the time to do this. First off, how long have you been there now?
Hi Brian. I have been manager here since early June, 2019, so 15 months now?
Are you enjoying Conshohocken and the community?
Very much so! Everyone has been very welcoming here. I can see that it is very caring and compassionate community and I feel lucky to be a part of it through the library.
I know it has been a strange few months, can you tell us how the Library has recently adapted?
We really are just trying to find the best way to make sure that we get patrons the help and the materials they want from the library, and encouraging people to read. Our summer reading program used to involve programs almost every day to bring people into the library. This year, that program moved online. The librarians throughout MCNPL created a host of suggestions for activities that kids and adults could do over the summer, to keep them connected to reading and to the community, and we heard that people really seemed to enjoy it. Now, we are seeing people back in the library on a limited basis, and we have people calling us looking for reading suggestions, or trying to figure out how to use our downloadable ebooks and audiobooks. We also are trying to get patrons excited about our virtual events.
What days are people currently allowed in the Library? Hours?
For September, the Library is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10AM to 1PM. We are hoping that we might be able to offer more hours in October; it all depends on what the county allows.
Even when we aren’t open to the public, library staff are in the building on Monday from 10AM-7PM, the rest of the weekdays from 10AM-5PM, and Saturday from 10AM-2PM. We are there to answer phones and to help patrons get access to materials, whether its helping them with digital resources or setting up “porch pick-up” appointments. Patrons really seem to like porch pick up–they place requests either online or by calling the library, and we arrange to have materials checked out and ready to be picked up outside. We offer pick up on Monday from 3PM to 6:30PM, Tuesday through Friday from 2PM to 4:30PM, and Saturday from 11AM to 1:30PM.
We also are offering virtual programming at a variety of times–one benefit of being virtual is that we can offer programs at times when the library wasn’t open, in the “before COVID times.” We also are wokring on creating videos and online forms so that we can have help available for patrons to access on their own schedule. We have read-aloud videos in our Facetime Storytime group, so families can watch them whenever it works for their own children’s schedules, and we are going to be sharing more videos demonstrating how to use some of our digital resources.
I know there have been some virtual type events, are there any others coming up? Any in person events?
We can’t do any in person events for the foreseeable future. However, we are offering a busy calendar full of virtual events! The Mutter Museum is returning for a presentation on forensic anthropology on Sept. 24. An educator from Norristown Farm Park is offering programs to get us all excited about going outside. Also, with funding provided by ASTM International, we are offering a series of virtual creative art programs for kids in grades K-4 and 5-8 starting September 22, and also a series of yoga classes for young children and for teens/tweens starting in October. We encourage everyone to keep an eye on our website and our social media, we post all our events there! http://mnl.mclinc.org/bookmobile-and-branches/conshohocken-branch/
|Conshohocken – Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Conshohocken Free Library 301 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, PA. 19428 (610) 825-1656 Sign up to receive the weekly Library newsletter about new additions to our collection and exciting events at the library.mnl.mclinc.org|
What resources are available at the Library, that maybe people aren’t using as much as they could?
I think that people are not aware of the digital research resources we have available through website, and that is something we are going to be working on over the next few weeks. We have databases that can help with education, job searches, etc. We have the Philadelphia Inquirer available to read for free. We have about 100 magazine subscriptions that you can check out and read on a tablet, for free.
Sydney, thank you. Before we finish, anything else you would like to add?
We hope we can see everyone soon at the library–whether that is in person, browsing the shelves, or at one of our virtual programs!