On June 10, the Lewisboro Library Board of Trustees discussed the prospect of holding the annual library fair as an in-person event. After a lengthy discussion, the board voted against going forward with the usual format.
“It looks to me like we’re not going to have a live event this year,” Library Board of Trustees President Nancy Euchner said.
Ms. Euchner shared a discussion about fair alternatives that took place two days earlier in a meeting with the library fair chairs.
The first option the chairs discussed was to have a fair that would be close to normal, but gloves, masks and social distancing would be required. “That idea did not meet with the response I was hoping for,” Ms. Euchner added.
Another option was holding an online raffle accompanied by an online auction of selected treasures run by an outside firm. The library’s program coordinator, Liz Gabriel, presented a third option of holding a library fair that resembled a county fair. The final option discussed by the library fair chairs was to hold an online raffle and concentrate on larger prizes that sponsors may be willing to raffle off.
Ms. Euchner said she was surprised by the amount of skepticism from the library fair chairs over holding an in-person fair. However, she added that she was worried many volunteers, who are typically older and more at risk of catching the coronavirus, would oppose it.
“I, at this point, truly don’t know what to do,” Ms. Euchner stated, adding that collections for the fair are supposed to begin in August. Typically, the fair is held in September.
Trustee Jennifer Cayea noted that fair attendance could also suffer this year because families will be preoccupied with adjusting to the new school year and operating conditions that are likely to be extremely challenging. “Families will be relearning how to do school,” Ms. Cayea said.
Trustee Richard Sklarin introduced the idea of sending out a survey to the community to hear their input on possible fair options. However, several other trustees noted that the library fair chairs and volunteers may not be willing to hold a library fair regardless of the public’s input, so a survey would put those groups in an uncomfortable position.
“I would hate to get the community all whipped up and then we find we don’t have the chairs with us, and we don’t have the traditional volunteers,” Ms. Euchner said.
After a lengthy discussion, Ms. Euchner said that based on consensus of the board, there will not be a live event for the library fair this year. Instead, the board will focus on organizing artistic events, possibly an online auction and a possible bicycle sale.
Ms. Euchner asked Lewisboro Library Director Cynthia Rubino to inform the library fair coordinator candidates of the board’s decision.
Ms. Euchner also asked the Fundraising Committee to get together before the board’s next meeting July 8 to draft written proposals for library fair alternatives that the board can discuss.
Treasurer Kevin Fitzmartin mentioned in his board report that cancellation of the library fair presented the biggest concern for the library’s finances.
Also at the meeting, Ms. Rubino presented the library’s plans for opening curbside pickup. Curbside pickup began Monday, June 15 and Ms. Rubino said that patrons can contact them by phone, email or hold an item in the library’s catalogue. The hours for curbside pickup are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday to Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday. During those times, Ms. Rubino said items requested by patrons will be left out to be picked up.
Currently, Ms. Rubino said, only items on the library’s shelves are available.
Ms. Rubino’s original proposal was to locate the pickup area in the shared parking lot with the post office. Ms. Rubino said library officials decided to move the pickup location to a tent set up on the library’s front lawn.
Ms. Rubino said the tent can fit two tables; one will be to hold the items ready for pickup, and the other will serve as a reading advisory table with featured books recommended by library staff.
She also noted that the staff is committed to being extremely responsive to patron needs, so, for example, they will fill orders for books right away if a resident arrives for pickup and needs additional items.
Ms. Rubino said she was still unsure when state regulations would allow patrons inside the library but was continuing to update the safety plan and prepare for that stage of opening. She noted that even after reopening, the library will continue to offer curbside pickup to serve patrons who are at high risk or still have concerns about entering.
“We’re ready and willing to do whatever it takes,” Ms. Rubino said.