Letter from the Director
Updated: Jun 1
To all of our Library Champions –
These are uncertain and unprecedented times. Here at the Library Foundation, we take comfort in knowing we have all of you behind us, as you have always been, with your many expressions of support.
As you've undoubtedly heard, Tompkins County Public Library, like all libraries countywide, is closed. Library Director Annette Birdsall and Board of Trustees leadership shared, "We are aware of the impact this has on our community, and understand the difficulty this may cause. Our library is a gathering place for everyone. And we know we are a specific place of refuge for vulnerable individuals and a gathering place for families. This was not an easy decision. Yet the numbers of patrons coming through our doors every day and the dedicated staff that make our library work means that we exceed the public health guidelines for social distancing put in place to assist in our region’s efforts to curb COVID-19."
The library has set up this webpage for FAQs and Coronavirus Information, for day-to-day announcements and updates. It includes information and links to the many resources available remotely via TCPL's website.
Amidst the tumult of the times, I share a few bits of bright news that give us hope for the days ahead, and remind us how important the library is to our quality of life:
As we at the Library Foundation mark "20 Years on Green Street," we joined with our library colleagues to reaffirm how libraries remain cornerstones of the community in a Tompkins Weekly feature. Looking ahead, as TCPL is guided by its recently-adopted strategic plan (found here), your engagement will be essential.
This week alone over 1,100 people were reached through our midweek "Break for Books" online Facebook program. In times of social distancing, the library continues to play a role in bringing people together around their love of reading. Engage with us next Wednesday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM, on TCPL's Facebook page.
We also were notified that we were awarded a grant of $16,000 from the Bernard Carl and Shirley Rosen Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, to support TCPL's extensive efforts to keep kids reading over the summer, with particular initiatives to reach those who otherwise can't get to the library for books and programs.
And all of us in the library world were overjoyed to hear that publisher Macmillan had walked back its policy restricting e-book sales to libraries. “This is extraordinarily welcome news in an unprecedented time," said American Library Association Senior Director for Public Policy & Government Relations Alan Inouye. "Equitable access to digital content is more important than ever as libraries continue to serve their communities amid rapidly changing circumstances. Macmillan’s return to its original lending terms signals a new starting point for all publishers to consider how they can work with libraries to ensure—and expand—access for all readers."
In the coming weeks and months, we'll be evaluating how to continue our support of TCPL's critical work in this new philanthropic landscape. Our April 25th READATHON remains on the docket, but may look different than it has in the past, in light of our current reality. To learn more about the event, and how you can help, please visit here. We'll keep you posted as our plans develop, and let you know of additional opportunities for engagement.
In the meantime, we stand together with you in celebrating our community's resilience. Thank you for being a Library Champion.
Tompkins County Public Library Foundation
The Tompkins County Public Library Foundation sustains and strengthens our library by inspiring community support. The Foundation serves as a bridge between the library and the community, encouraging engagement through philanthropy and participation.