Library collecting virus-related stories and photos
Like most businesses and organizations in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community, Heights Libraries had to close its buildings and figure out how to continue to serve its customers in the drastically different landscape of a pandemic. Online resources are the its best option, and Heights Libraries has worked to increase its online presence through eblasts and online programs such as storytime videos and live yoga classes posted to social media.
Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director, also recognized that part of a public library’s mission is to offer a place in which communities can tell their stories and feel heard, especially during times of turmoil. That’s why the library has launched a new project, Coping at Home, and is hoping community members will share their experiences by submitting them on Heights Libraries’ website.
Coping at Home aims to capture the experiences of Heights residents during this unprecedented time. Submissions can be as simple as a stray observation or a snapshot, or as complex as a personal story.
“It’s not always easy to recognize when you’re in a moment in time that will be of historical significance; most of us are just trying to cope, to get through it,” said Levin. “But we are living through a moment that will be in history books, to be sure, and it’s important to capture what life is like for all of us right now.”
Recent submissions include an account of the strangeness of shopping in a mask, having to celebrate with family at a distance, and the therapeutic power of music in isolation.
Residents can read and share their own stories by logging on to https://heightslibrary.org/services/coping-at-home.
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.