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Libraries across the Southern Tier have been busy during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found new ways to connect with community members – even when we couldn’t leave our homes. Libraries facilitated virtual learning, developed innovative programs, used 3D technology to craft PPE, and worked to bridge the digital divide. Our libraries are amazing and are adapting in new ways all the time! But, libraries can’t do this work alone. They need the support of elected officials to help ensure they have the funding necessary to adapt and thrive.
Facilitating Virtual Learning
Miss Sue and the Southeast Steuben County Library have been facilitating virtual learning through online storytimes and other activities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, they support local teachers and families and help make learning at home FUN!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries like the Cohocton Public Library adapted their programs for a virtual audience and hosted them online. Jessie Zeh, the Director of the Cohocton Public Library, developed programs like a fish-themed creekside storytime on the day that the DEC stocked the Cohocton River with fish!
Using 3D Tech to Craft PPE
In the spring of 2020, the Chemung County Library District Makerspace, worked with library staff and community volunteers to produce face shields and other personal protective equipment, which was later donated to area hospital staff and other frontline workers, as well as to families and those in need throughout the region.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Access to a reliable broadband internet connection is critical for students learning at home, for individuals working remotely, and for equitable access to the wealth of information available on the internet. At the core of their mission, libraries provide access to information, and libraries, like the Angelica Free Library, are stepping up to bridge the digital divide by offering loanable hotspots.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, staff at the Penn Yan Public Library adapted services to meet the needs of their community. They offered a story walk on the Keuka Outlet Trail, where community members could walk and read a story posted on signs along the trail. The project promoted both health and literacy!
Advocacy is defined as “public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.” For our libraries, advocacy is an essential statement of support and appreciation that ensures free and equal access to information, knowledge, and independent learning for all.
Current Library Advocacy Issues:
Our libraries provide valuable, life-changing services to our families and our community. 2020 demonstrated how important libraries are to residents of the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Western New York. Our librarians stepped up to provide essential services to all community members who were homebound due to COVID-19. Remote work and home schooling would have been difficult without electronic library materials, online programs, and wireless internet access.
It has been four years since libraries received additional financial support from New York State. And, the recent 22.6% withholding in aid will cause long term damage to the mission of libraries. The pandemic is not over, and libraries will play a vital role in helping our communities and New York State rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our 2021 priorities:
Show Your Support for Libraries
This page is intended to connect Southern Tier residents with state and federal representatives. It also highlights current library issues you can weigh-in on as a library supporter. Feel free to use these links to voice your opinions regarding matters that concern you most.
State Representative’s Websites
Senator George M. Borrello (Represents STLS libraries in Allegany County)
Senator Thomas O’Mara (Represents STLS libraries in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben & Yates counties)
Assemblyman Philip Palmesano (Represents STLS libraries in Addison, Avoca, Bath, Branchport, Canisteo, Corning, Dundee, Hammondsport, Hector, Howard, Middlesex, Montour Falls, Odessa, Penn Yan, Pulteney, Rushville, Savona and Watkins Glen)
Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (Represents STLS libraries in Arkport, Atlanta, Cohocton, Hornell, Prattsburgh and Wayland)
Assemblyman Christopher Friend (Represents STLS libraries in Chemung County)
Assemblyman Joseph Giglio (Represents STLS libraries in Allegany County, Greenwood and Jasper)
Federal Representative’s Websites
Thank you for your participation and ongoing support of Southern Tier libraries!