Tyler Library continues to adapt and serve patronsSep 08, 2020 02:01PM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart
Library patrons can sign up for 10-minute appointments to browse books and pick up holds. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)
By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]
The simple pleasure of browsing for books at the library is once again an option for Salt Lake County residents, though with some restrictions.
The Inside Express program gives library patrons the option to sign up for appointments to enter their local library to pick up holds and even select books.
“It’s different branch to branch,” said David “Davie” Bird, manager of the Ruth Vine Tyler Library in Midvale. “We have the newest releases and things you can’t place on hold, like toddler books and tablets.”
Masks are required, and up to two members of a household can enter for up to 10 minutes at a time.
“Some larger families sign up for one appointment and take turns coming in two at a time,” Bird said. “Other branches can do more than one appointment at a time. Here you have four staff members all waiting on you, so that’s kind of fun.”
Library staff are not allowed in the building without verifying a lack of symptoms, and they work hard to frequently sanitize high-touch areas. They can also grab books on other shelves that patrons might want.
“It is so nice to be helping people again,” Bird said. “We see how much people have missed and appreciate the public library. My favorite moments are seeing the little ones walk in and browse books again.”
In addition to Inside Express, patrons are also still able to request items for curbside pickup.
“When you get notice that your items are at your branch, you set up an appointment,” Bird said. “Staff will come out to your vehicle so you don’t have to come into the building.”
When the Salt Lake County Library system closed all branches in March to slow the spread of COVID-19, most of the staff worked from home. Bird still came to the building every day to feed the fish and check the grounds. Curbside pickup began in May, then Inside Express started in late July.
“It’s keeping us busy,” Bird said. “We are filling most of our appointments and considering how to make (the library) available to more people in the future.”
Beyond books, the library continues to offer services that are more important now than ever.
The Kid’s Cafe free bagged lunches and breakfasts can be picked up from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays at the library located at 8041 S. Wood St. in Midvale.
“You drive up, tell us how many kids, and we bring it to your car,” Bird said.
Brainfuse HelpNow is an e-learning portal that connects students of all ages with professional tutors. The site offers help with all major subjects, including homework help and support for Spanish speakers.
Brainfuse also offers a 24-hour Writing Lab that gives constructive feedback on essays and research papers. “They will help you fix citations and formatting, as long as you don’t upload it the night before it’s due,” Bird said.
Another online resource, called Gale in Context: High School, give users access to an interactive online encyclopedia. Library patrons can find images, videos, relevant articles and primary sources for a variety of research topics.
“Everyone should know about this one,” Bird said. “You’ll have your research done in 10 minutes and you won’t hate writing your papers quite as much. I recommend it for K-12 and even college students.”
Brainfuse and Gale in Context can both be found online at slcolibrary.org/learn/all-resources.
Story time for kids and programs for teens and adults can be accessed on the County Library’s social media pages. Programs can be viewed live, and most are also archived to be viewed later.
“We have some space outside, so we’re excited about possibly doing some in-person programming once we get permission,” Bird said. “It may be a long ways off, but we’re excited about the potential to do that in a safe way.”