Royal Oak library expands services, continues curbside pickup

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 14, 2021

 The Royal Oak Public Library continues to offer curbside pickup service for patrons at its 11 Mile Road entrance.

The Royal Oak Public Library continues to offer curbside pickup service for patrons at its 11 Mile Road entrance.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — Since the Royal Oak Public Library shuttered its doors March 13, Director Emily Dumas and her staff have been busy implementing an expanded offering of virtual services and programs in addition to providing contactless pickup.

The library has moved from phase one, where all services were provided online; to phase two, where staff reported back to prepare to resume services; to the current phase three in June, where patrons can pick up materials, although the building remains closed to the public.

As the next phase is tied with the state’s transition from phase four to phase five, the library will remain in phase three of its six-phase reopening approach indefinitely.

In phase four, the library would open to the public for a limited period of time with limited capacity. Phase five would allow the public to be inside the building and socially distanced. Phase six would allow for a return to full services available before COVID-19.

Dumas said all Royal Oak residents, students and employees are eligible to sign up for library cards online, which provide access to not only contactless pickup, but also all of the library’s downloadable materials.

The library added thousands of titles to its free digital platforms, including e-books, audiobooks and magazines, and also curated digital collections by age groups. It also began offering free educational and training courses through LinkedIn Learning and full access to genealogy site ancestry.com, tutor.com, the New York Times and the fully digitized Daily Tribune dating back more than 144 years.

Patrons can place holds on materials, schedule appointments for contactless pickup at the 11 Mile Road entrance, and retrieve their bags of ordered materials from a table at the library.

Those materials also include seeds from its free seed library, Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebooks, as well as items from the new Library of Things, in which patrons can check out objects like household gadgets, gardening tools, telescopes, electronics or toys.

Dumas said the Library of Things includes a unique and thoughtful collection of board games curated with help from Royal Oak business Toyology, baking pans, a Baby Yoda waffle maker, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kits for kids and, soon, a guitar, banjo and keyboard.

In June, the library received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the creation of an arts-based makerspace, which Dumas said the library would match mostly in employee time.

Library employee Emily Crosby submitted the grant application for the makerspace, which will include sewing and embroidery machines, clay and printmaking materials, knitting kits, a dress form, a green screen, a photo printer, a button maker, a Lego wall, vinyl-to-MP3 conversion software and podcasting equipment.

“Most of these things will be able to be checked out and taken home, and some will be staying in the library,” Crosby said. “It’s really awesome. I’m really excited about it. Hopefully, we can have everything out for the public to use by summer 2021.”

The makerspace will be part of the interior renovation of the library starting in the next couple of months, which will impact both levels of the building, Dumas said.

The renovation project includes new flooring, carpeting, painting, a stroller parking area, cubbies for patrons, shifting shelving to create more space in the media area, as well as an expansion of the adult, teen and children’s areas.

The second phase of the project will include new furniture and a laptop bar in the media area.

The library also has shifted its full range of weekly programming for all ages to a virtual setting. Virtual programs include crafting, cooking, book clubs, magicians and animal education. Dumas advised any residents who need assistance in setting up their computers to access programming to contact the library.

The Royal Oak Public Library is located at 222 E. 11 Mile Road, east of Main Street.

For more information, visit ropl.org or call the library at (248) 246-3700.

Advertisement