GREEN RIVER, WYOMING (September 13, 2020) — In today’s edition of 5 Questions With…, Wyo4News talks with Lindsey Travis, Assistant Director for the Sweetwater County Library System.
Travis has been working for the Sweetwater County Library System since 2014. She started as the Public Relations Specialist, then moved into a Library Manager role, and now serves as an Assistant Library Director.
She manages the Sweetwater County Library in Green River, the Rock Springs Library on C Street, and oversees public relations for the Sweetwater County Library System.
Travis has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Political Science, and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. She enjoys reading post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels, fiction about the immigrant experience, and the occasional biography.
Wyo4News 5 Questions
1. How did operations change for the Sweetwater County Library System when COVID-19 hit?
When COVID-19 hit, like most places, we started by shutting down our buildings for a few months. During the closure we worked to find the best way to serve library patrons – we provided online storytimes and promoted our digital collections (eBooks, digital audiobooks, streaming movies, and music).
We started offering curbside services in mid-May and then reopened to the public with slightly reduced hours on June 1 – hours that currently remain in place, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays; 12-4 p.m. Saturdays.
In order to best keep patrons and staff safe we have installed sneeze guards at the service desks, reduced the number of computers that are available in order to allow for social distancing, we sanitize surfaces throughout the day, and we have not been holding in-person programs.
Over the summer, our youth services librarians put together a great Summer Reading Challenge, provided grab-and-go activities for kids, coordinated online programs, and created sidewalk obstacle courses in front of the buildings. I am thankful that we have creative and passionate people working for the libraries who really wanted to give kids the best summer activities, even when we couldn’t hold in-person programs. They did an awesome job and have a lot more awesomeness planned for the fall.
2. How do you feel your coworkers responded to the changes COVID-19 brought?
The staff responded with creativity and adaptability. We had to make changes to the way delivered programs to patrons and our staff did a great job coming up with new and innovative ideas. Reopening allowed our staff to do what they like best – putting books in the hands of people. Our staff is definitely our best resource.
3. What are the services that are being provided by the Library System for those who may not know what is available?
Along with having books and DVDs available for checkout, the libraries provide copying, faxing, wireless printing, and free Wi-Fi. We also provide Interlibrary Loan, which means that if we don’t have the book a patron is looking for, we will try to get it from another library in the state. Meeting rooms are available as well, but need to be reserved in advance.
Also, some people may not know that the Community Fine Arts Center (CFAC) is part of the Sweetwater County Library System. The CFAC is connected to the Rock Springs Library and displays a collection of artwork owned by Sweetwater County School District #1 and displays artwork from different artists every month.
4. Why is the Library System so important for Sweetwater County?
The libraries are great equalizers. They provide equal services to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. The mission of the Sweetwater County Library System is to improve the quality of life in our communities by:
- Helping individuals obtain information
- Providing materials that are reliable and current
- Encouraging a lifelong joy of reading and learning for all, especially children
Without the libraries, many in our community would not have access to reading materials, computers, or other informational services.
5. What are your hopes for the future for the Library System as COVID-19 calms down and life normalizes?
We want the library to continue to be innovative with new and fun ways to introduce children to reading and learning. We will be excited when we can bring in-person programs back, but will likely continue to offer more than one avenue to connect with our patrons by continuing to offer online and grab-and-go activities. We all hope to soon open the Children’s Discovery Center at the Rock Springs Library. The center is a mini children’s museum with interactive exhibits for children to explore.