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Libraries more than just books

Libraries more than just books Libraries more than just books

Who would have guessed that in January 2022 we would still need to take precautionary action and stay away from crowds to avoid the dreaded coronavirus. In the winter of 2020, my husband, Don, and I came to our farm in Corydon to be safe from the old flu bug and here we have stayed.

Don and I are no strangers to being quarantined for infectious diseases, as we have been on this earth since the 1930s. I remember vividly the many months my family was isolated due to me having scarlet fever. My father and grandfather had to move out of the house. My sister, who was not sick, had to stay home from school for over half a year so she would not spread the disease. No one came close to our house as it bore an official notice of our restriction. Food and other supplies were left on the sidewalk for my mom to retrieve.

How did we pass the isolated months? Reading. I couldn’t read as I was just starting first grade, but my older sister and mother were avid readers. In those days, books were to be burned upon leaving a quarantined house. Not wanting to read the same kiddie books over and over to me, they read their adult books out loud while I adoringly listened.

My mom loved nature and history books. Together, we took great adventures using the written word and her soothing voice. I still remember the excitement of hearing the story about how the Liberty Bell got its crack as it was being displayed around our country. And what a thrill to travel with the stories of migrating birds flying in response to seasonal changes.

By reading the Nancy Drew mystery books to me, my older sister and I shared the thrill of experiencing the suspense of a teenage detective and her trusty magnifying glass as she solved crimes. I loved it, and I learned.

Such experiences convinced me that, through reading, I could be anywhere doing anything I wanted. Reading didn’t come easy for me as I am dyslexic, but yearning to know about the world and its people pushed me to try harder.

In the current pandemic, we have many ways to reach out beyond our imposed boundaries. Television and the internet have given us avenues for experiencing places, people and events in ways we could never have imagined in 1940. However, reading is still our best tool for maximizing our outreach. Libraries of today are no longer the dark, silent places of the past.

In conversation with Alisa Burch, director of the Harrison County Public Library, and Tracy Underhill, her counterpart at the Crawford County Public Library, I learned of the extensive outreach practices available to us. Here are just a few:

•Harrison County has library branches in Corydon, Elizabeth, Lanesville and Palmyra. Crawford County’s library is in English.

•Contactless curbside services. Call ahead or go online and put your book, audio or DVD choices on hold. You can ask library staff to print documents, make copies or fax materials. Call when you arrive and materials will be brought to your vehicle.

•E-books and audio books are available online 24/7.

•High-speed internet is available at the libraries.

•Each week the libraries’ Facebook page lists take-and-make projects adults and children can do. Needed materials can be picked up curbside at the library.

•Montessori-based learning toys can be checked out.

•Videos of fun activities such as storytelling, nature programs and puppet shows can be found on the library website’s Brain Booster Page.

•Call to learn about home delivery and outreach programs to seniors and those who are homebound.

•One-on-one help is provided for student’s school work.

•Technical assistance is offered to adults with employment needs and computer problems.

•Portable “hot spots” are available, in Harrison County only, to improve band width for home computers.

For more services provided in Harrison County, go to For more about services offered in Crawford County, visit

The current pandemic still necessitates our withdrawal from some of our favorite ways of intermingling with others. Use your imagination and, with the help of your library, explore distant lands, people and happenings.