A Message to the Community

May 1, 2020

To our patrons:

Among the umpteen lessons of the coronavirus, and the distance we must observe to stem its spread, is that “apart” hollows out a place that by definition is public, open, and inclusive.

As home to programs designed to engage and staff trained to facilitate, the library has no greater, or simpler, wish than to come back to life. 

Toward that end, while our doors remain locked, starting next week librarian Regina Kelly will be answering the phone (914-478-3307) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 2 and 4 p.m. Regina can help you navigate the Westchester Library System’s various online services and platforms; renew your library card; answer questions; or gladly recommend downloadable books to those looking for a particular reading experience (mystery, biography, romance, etc.). 

In addition, the library recently updated its telephone system. The outgoing message on the answering machine now invites callers to leave a message, which will be returned by a staff member within 24 hours.

We hope these measures in some small way mitigate the “contactless-ness” of our current circumstances and serve as a reminder of the interactions we miss so deeply.

On that note, Tim Donahue, Library trustee and high school English teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, will host a Google Meet Joyce series on Wednesdays, May 6, 13, and 20, 7:30-8:30 p.m. No long lectures, but lively, democratic discussion of six short stories from “Dubliners.” If interested, please email tpdonahue13@hotmail.com for an invitation, limited to the first 10 respondents.

You should know that when Governor Cuomo does lift restrictions on libraries and other “non-essential” services, inter-library loans aren’t going to be immediately available. Books and other materials that have been placed on hold won’t be delivered to Hastings, but patrons will be able to use their Hastings card, in person, to check out the requested item from the branch that has it in their collection.

There will undoubtedly be a raft of other changes affecting how libraries operate — protocols that address the safety of visitors and staff alike, and limit the gatherings once encouraged and embraced.

A 2018 New York Times op-ed by sociologist Eric Klinenberg cites the argument that “when so many books are digitized, so much public culture exists online and so often people interact virtually — libraries no longer need the support they once commanded.”

In libraries’ defense, he maintains they are “where people with different backgrounds, passions and interests can take part in a living democratic culture . . . where the public, private and philanthropic sectors can work together to reach for something higher than the bottom line.”

In Hastings, we know firsthand what that “something” looks like.

With all due gratitude for the access technology offers, nothing beats the connection to be shared here again.

Sincerely,

The Hastings Library Board of Trustees

P.S. Go to www.hastingslibrary.org. and/or visit our facebook page, @HOHlibrary, for updates, links, etc.