James W. Curry Head Librarian Judith Williams on Thursday told the Upshur County Commission the library had an 'impactful' year in 2020.

Thriving Curry Library serves more than 3,000 patrons in 2020 despite pandemic

BUCKHANNON – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the James W. Curry Library stayed busy in 2020 with a total of 3,483 people utilizing the library.

Judith Williams, director of the James W. Curry Public Library, attended the April 8 Upshur County Commission meeting to deliver the library’s annual report.

“Our slate of robust programming saw record attendance with our last pre-pandemic story time being standing room only,” Williams said. “We stood on the cusp of expansion before COVID, and we were becoming a destination. Our forward momentum slammed to a halt and like everyone else, we struggled to find solid footing from which to serve our community while keeping everybody safe.”

They succeeded in that mission.

The library had a total of 3,483 library users in spite of COVID-19, with 2,442 adults and 1,061 children utilizing the library. However, park use was down by 10 percent with 108 park users, 91 camp site reservations and 19 pavilion reservations.

“Our ‘ruralness’ proved to be a distinct advantage, allowing us to continue to serve our community when many others couldn’t,” Williams said. “While we couldn’t offer many of the programs and activities patrons have come to expect out of Curry, we were able to reinvent ourselves to provide a safe, functional virtual learning environment.”

Approximately 2,530 technology sessions with 383 computer hours and 2,147 Wi-Fi hours were recorded, and the library provided 46 days of logistical support for virtual learning in addition to enhanced Wi-Fi service, serving 253 children and 130 adults.

“We reformatted programs to meet COVID safety protocols with the support, understanding, generosity and cooperation of our community, the county commission, the county administrators and other county offices,” Williams said.

Forty-one children’s programs served 409 children and 253 adults; 26 adult programs served 72 adults and two youths; 21 family programs helped out 34 children and 54 adults; and four community programs assisted 297 children and 395 adults. The ‘Imagine Your Story’ Summer Reading Program served 162 children and 101 adults, while 151 carloads of 526 people enjoyed Christmas at Curry Festival of Lights.

“If I were to sum up 2020 in a word, I would have to say ‘impactful,’” Williams said. “I’d be hard-pressed to find a single area of life not affected by the events of the past year.”

Williams noted 2,159 books and 1,340 DVDs were in circulation for the year, and ages two through 12 had the most items in circulation. In addition, 21 hunting permits were issued in 2020 – as well as 16 new library cards. Learn more about the James W. Curry Library or check out their Events Calendar here.

Prior to adjourning, the commission also:

Approved a request from Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller to promote Tim Bennett to assistant supervisor of Court Security. The motion was made by commissioner Sam Nolte and seconded by commissioner Terry Cutright.

Awarded Micrologic the bid for the Camera Surveillance and Door Access Control Security Project for a total amount of $93,025.

Approved the seasonal employment of Hannah Lively as the B-U Recreational Park Facilities Director for the 2021 season. Ms. Lively will begin part-time work on or around May 9, 2021 and transition to full-time employment on May 30, 2021. Her seasonal employment is expected to end on August 14, 2021.

Approved advertisements for lifeguards, admission workers, concession stand workers and assistant managers for the 2021 season at the Buckhannon-Upshur Recreational Park Facility. The temporary positions will commence mid-May and continue through mid-August. Applications must be received on or before the close of business on Friday, April 30, 2021.

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