To think many of us had never heard the term social distancing before, and now it is heard everywhere. Learning to embrace society at a distance, is a big change for those of us who used to greet people with a hug or a handshake. What if you always maintained your personal space, but liked to be surrounded by people in large venues such as BINGO or music jams. Cultural services that previously engaged an audience through special events and activities may now be rethinking their operations. Now more than ever, the significance of interaction between people, is on everyone’s mind.
Once the dust settles, it will be hard to get back to normal, as we do not know what normal will be. SARS, H1N1, COVID-19 are viruses that spread and they are escalating in their aggression. People will have to make changes in their lifestyles; and typically, we only like changes when it is our choice to make them, and not when change is thrust upon us. For some, this is not a big deal. They thrive on independent activity. They routinely hike, kayak, bike, etc. The world is theirs for the exploring. Then there are those who are not so outdoorsy and prefer indoor hobbies such as handcrafts, reading, and puzzles. For them, social distancing is not much of a challenge, either.
So, what do you do, when you used to spend your social time, being social? Before the library temporarily closed as a COVID-19 precaution, we heard the angst in the voices of the grandparents, who thought there would be programs and books and movies, to entertain their grandchildren that were staying with them over March Break. We heard the disappointment from our drop-in patrons that live alone and enjoy chatting with others, and gather at the library for company. The closures are a wake-up call to all of us. Play safe! Consider your options. Ask questions to help dispel the fear and misinformation. Not touching your face is a safety practice for your safety, not for others (and it is a tough habit to break). Use anti-bacterial cleaning stations frequently and wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! Make it fun, not scary, so others embrace the practise too.
Depending on your library, and what you use it for, you may not see much difference in service, but you can bet that behind the scenes there have been some changes in operations. Realistically, any business can only do so much to protect you from harm. You need to inform yourself about self-care, and social distancing. Ensure you are using trusted sites for your information. Fake news on social media sites prey on the panic of others. If you share information, ensure it is from a credible source. Best to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem! Find your comfort level with social interaction – the library has resources online and in-house. We are here for you – let us know how we can help!
Submitted by Paige Turner