BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Summer vacations may be curtailed, but adventure awaits inside the Whitehouse Library, which recently added hundreds of children’s books, CDs, DVDs and magazines to their collection.
Sleuth along with the Nancy Drew movie, explore far-flung locations with Dora the Explorer or laugh along with Puss in Boots.
In January, the library received a $5,000 grant from the Dorothy Louise Kyler Foundation and used it to enhance offerings in the children’s room, which features a new bookshelf brimming with new titles.
“As a nonprofit library whose only financing comes from donations and fundraisers, it is a tremendous boost and we are grateful to the foundation,” said Carol Rosebrock, a volunteer. “The Kyler Foundation supports small libraries nationwide in hopes of fostering an interest in the fields of science, engineering and math in young children. We invite the community to stop by sometime and see all our new additions at the Whitehouse Library.”
A Summer Reading Program is underway for children, who can pick up a packet and track reading to earn prizes.
“We encourage students to read 20 minutes a day,” said children’s librarian Ann Gasser.
The library reopened on June 16 after a three-month closure. During that time, volunteers also tackled a larger project: entering all 20,000 items into a computer system.
A team of volunteers individually applied bar codes to each item. Items were then scanned into a new computer program that allows patrons to look up books by title, author or subject on the library’s computer, Gasser said.
“We used our downtime well. Otherwise, it would have taken longer to bar code each book if we were open,” said manager Linda Baker.
Older and less-used items were also weeded out from the collection and other titles were added to the adult fiction and nonfiction sections, including the New York Times Top 10 bestsellers and the latest from patron favorite authors C.J. Box, James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele.
“People come in and are glad to see we have a lot of new books,” Gasser said.
The vast DVD collection has also been enhanced, and many patrons are glad to check out up to 10 movies in order to fill the time at home. For those in need of a wireless internet connection, the library offers it for free and has a few computers for members to use.
“During the shutdown, we even had people in our parking lot using the Wi-Fi,” Gasser said.
Of course, perusing the shelves post-shutdown comes with a few changes: Patrons are asked to wear a mask, sanitize their hands and practice social distancing. Books, once returned, are quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation, and volunteers – many of whom are retired teachers and librarians – are working just one three-hour shift a day.
“We want to limit the exposure of our volunteers, so they work one shift and sanitize before and after their shift,” Baker said.
Hours are now 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Membership fees are waived in 2020 in appreciation for the continued support of the library’s patrons. Whitehouse residency is not required. In fact, the membership has grown to 740 since the nonprofit library opened in July 2004 and includes guests from Tontogany, Waterville, Swanton, Maumee, Monclova Township, Toledo and of course, Whitehouse.
The library is not affiliated with the county system and relies on grants and fundraisers. Two of those events – the Spring Tea and Summer Camp – had to be canceled.
“Our members were good to us and continued making donations while we were closed,” Baker said.
For more information, visit www.whitehouseohlibrary.org or Facebook.