By Clancey Cheeley
When the pandemic began, libraries across Georgia found themselves faced with the conundrum of how to continue community engagement, host programs, and provide service during a time when limiting exposure to others was paramount to public health and safety. The Greene County Library, located in Greensboro, Georgia and a unit of the Azalea Regional Library System, found a solution to this problem by reimagining and retooling programs and how staff interacted with the community in a secure, creative, and unique way.
Beginning in August 2020, the Greene County Library began its “drive-in” style story time program, headlined by energetic staff member, Tara Coile. This unorthodox story time allows families to gather in the library parking lot, safely inside their vehicles, and listen to lively, seasonal tales. With fresh air and sunlight as the backdrop, these story times provide an ideal setting for families to spend time together, encourage reading, and enjoy the benefits of their local library, all while prioritizing safety protocols.
Another creative way the Greene County Library has engaged families is through an interactive story walk program. This activity takes readers through an educational guided nature walk, combining literacy with the great outdoors. Along the story walk path, participants may pause and read pages of a juvenile non-fiction book that have been mounted on wooden stands at various points along the trail. The story walk concludes with a short quiz and prizes for completion, the purpose of which is to encourage children to not only read, but also retain and understand the story’s message.
The Greene County Library has also involved the community through a bookmark design competition, inspired by a similar program at the Juneau Public Library System in Juneau, Alaska. The competition allows students of all ages to draw and design their own bookmark, with winners seeing their design printed as an official bookmark for the library. In collaboration with local schools, the Greene County Library bookmark competition has garnered much interest and student artists have greatly enjoyed designing their own page marking masterpieces. This popular program has helped the library remain connected to the community and reach youth that may not be familiar with the library and the free resources available to them.
By incorporating creative and innovative ideas and strategies, the Greene County Library has strengthened its ties to the community through library programs that continue to promote literacy and enrich the lives of all patrons; connections that are of upmost importance during such polarizing times.
For more information about the Greene County Library feel free to visit: