Library materials circulate despite COVID inconveniences

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 19, 2020

 Although the Sterling Heights Public Library building is closed to the public, the “Two Bears” statue outside has a sign telling patrons where to go to get curbside pickup service of library materials June 18.

Although the Sterling Heights Public Library building is closed to the public, the “Two Bears” statue outside has a sign telling patrons where to go to get curbside pickup service of library materials June 18.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Outdoor signs in the Sterling Heights Public Library’s parking lot instruct patrons on how to access its contactless curbside pickup service.

Outdoor signs in the Sterling Heights Public Library’s parking lot instruct patrons on how to access its contactless curbside pickup service.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The pages are turning once more at the Sterling Heights Public Library as it continues some services and resumes others in different ways in light of the governor allowing some reopenings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, the city decided to close city buildings to the public from mid-March until at least June, and that included the library.

However, during that time, residents were able to check out online resources, and they could also apply for a library card online through the library website.

Catherine McCullough Les, the technical services supervisor for the Sterling Heights Public Library, said that from the library’s March closing through May 28, residents checked out and circulated 19,692 e-books and e-audiobooks, 857 e-magazines, and 676 e-TV shows or movies.

She said some of the most popular books have been “Ambush,” by James Patterson and James O. Born; “Any Dream Will Do,” by Debbie Macomber; “Explosive Eighteen,” by Janet Evanovich; the Harry Bosch series, by Michael Connelly; and “Blue Moon” and the Jack Reacher series, by Lee Child.

Other popular titles for adults include “American Dirt,” by Jeanine Cummins; “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr; “All We Ever Wanted,” by Emily Giffin; “Nine Perfect Strangers,” by Liane Moriarty; “The Giver of Stars,” by Jojo Moyes; “The Alice Network,” by Kate Quinn; and the Guild Hunter series, by Nalini Singh.

“The most popular genre is general adult fiction,” she said in an email.

“Popular categories in adult nonfiction are self-help, such as ‘12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,’ by Jordan B. Peterson; and ‘Atomic Habits,’ by James Clear. ‘Becoming,’ by Michelle Obama, is our most popular biography/memoir.”

Teens have enjoyed “Always and Forever, Lara Jean,” by Jenny Han, and “City of Bones,” by Cassandra Clare, Les said. Kids are checking out “Anne of Green Gables,” by L.M. Montgomery; The Berenstain Bears books, by Stan and Jan Berenstain; and the Big Nate series, by Lincoln Peirce, she added.

However, the library is slowly reopening its services to the public following Whitmer’s decision to let libraries reopen starting June 8.

After a brief period in which only the phones were open to reserve materials, the library started allowing curbside book drop-offs, and staff started delivering items to patrons’ vehicle trunks June 15. The library is quarantining returned items for at least three days before the recirculation process begins.

On June 17, Jason Groth, the library’s public relations and programs coordinator, said patrons have been steadily using the curbside pickup option, especially in the morning and the afternoon.

“It’s pretty much busy all the time right now,” he said. “They will place a hold online, or they can call the library at our phone number. The holds arrive, and then (patrons) will get a notification.

“When they come in, there are designated parking spots in front to the library, and there is a sign that says what you need to do and call the number. Then we will have people run out with their items.”

The library also said it will start making its computers available on a limited basis June 29.


Summer reading lives on
Meanwhile, the library’s summer reading program, themed around fairytales and called “Imagine Your Story,” started June 8. It’s mainly a virtual experience, though Groth said a parallel set of resources and materials is available for residents who don’t have the internet at home.

The reading program is aimed at babies, young listeners, young readers, people with special needs, teens and adults. Participants in their respective groups complete three forms containing reading goals over the summer, which are submitted to the library by a certain date.

More than $5,000 worth of prizes, including over 250 gift cards, will be awarded during the program via raffles and finisher prizes. Winners will get their prizes mailed to them through their library card addresses.

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Public Library by calling (586) 446-2665 or by visiting shpl.net.

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