Libraries open back up, offer more than books

Ronda Wertman
Special to the News Tribune
Sadie Haza of the Fort Ashby Library Lego Club shows one of the creations she made at the library.

It’s an exciting time for Mineral County’s libraries as hours are expanding and new programs are opening up.

After a year of reduced hours and modified services due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the libraries are opening their doors more and more while still maintaining social distancing and taking extra precautions.

In Keyser, the new hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“The Children’s librarian/programmer at Keyser has been working hard putting together a thrilling “May Mystery Program!” said Heather Haynes, library director. “The kids are going to solve the mystery of a missing cartoon character. The premise for the program is that the librarians need the children’s help with a mystery that’s occurred at the library.”

Dea Clayton of the Keyser-Mineral County Library displays the May Mystery Case File for the new program set to begin at the Keyser Library.

The May Mystery program will be a four-week program May 3 – 30 with a video announcement on the library’s Facebook page and more videos to follow. Each week, there will be a different task list and activity kit that kids or their parents or guardians can pick up. For each completed kit returned to the library, the child’s name will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $10 gift card to a local restaurant.

 “As the children’s programmer, I’m really excited to be able to present a program called May Mystery next month. This will be a great lead up to our Summer Reading Program,” added Dea Clayton.

The Fort Ashby branch is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I host a number of clubs for the kids in the community to join, including Lego, STEAM, and junior book club. We also have a book club for adults that meets once a month,” said children’s librarian and programmer Wendi Getz. “We are looking forward to providing some fun programming to our community this summer.”

Tuesdays are especially busy in Fort Ashby as the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) club meets every second Tuesday at 4 p.m., the Junior Book Club meets every third  Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., and the Lego Club every fourth Tuesday at 4 p.m.  

The Fort Ashby Readers, a book club for adults, meets every third Tuesday at 11 a.m.  They are discussing the book “Woman of Troublesome Creek” in April.

The Burlington library has a new paint color and area residents are invited to check out the exciting things going on inside.

“They have been really hands on and tried to do as much as they can virtually,” said Haynes, noting that they are adding to it.

The Burlington Library just received a fresh coat of paint as the library continues to serve the local community.

The Burlington branch is open Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The Burlington Library is excited to start in-person programming again. We have three fun storytimes planned; they will feature National Kite Day, National Siblings Day, and Earth Day,” says branch manager Tonya Mongold of Storytime, which gets underway each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. “We will also be having a Pretzel Movie Day at the end of April. We will still be practicing social distancing and wearing masks.”

“As a small town library, our patrons are not mere strangers to us - they are our friends and neighbors. We are honored to be a valuable stitch in our tight-knit community,” said Kiki Tolias, librarian.