March 2021 If you\u2019re like my family, you have been more reliant on community amenities\u2014libraries, farmers markets, etc.\u2014this past year than perhaps ever before. The Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) and the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation found innovative ways to navigate through a pandemic and a move to a temporary location while the library undergoes major renovations. And the remarkable CCPL and foundation staff and volunteers pivoted ever so seamlessly\u2014without ever having to completely shut down its services to its cardholders. I spoke with the CCPL Foundation Director Elizabeth Hamilton and CCPL Communications Manager Christy Walker about some of the many workarounds that the library and foundation exercised throughout the last year, what they are planning for this spring and summer and ways that the community can give back to the library\u2019s efforts. Maintaining Engagement Efforts and Services \u201cDuring the pandemic, the library listened to the community and has offered it what it needed during this difficult time,\u201d Hamilton shared. \u201cFrom expanded online (e-book, audiobook, movie and magazine) offerings, to monthly \u2018Take and Make\u2019 activities for all ages, and we have increased our monthly home-bound delivery service. We now offer opportunities for patrons to request a book bundle or talk directly with a librarian for book suggestions.\u201d Hamilton also mentioned that the library has instituted a family movie night package (which includes some microwave popcorn) sponsored by Carmel Travel Company. \u201cIn light of these program expansions, we are always in need of additional funding outside of the property tax support the library receives,\u201d Hamilton expressed. \u201cA list of support opportunities includes Little Free Libraries\u2014we have 10 scattered around the city, mostly in parks.Summer Reading Program\u2014will begin in May and reaches the entire community. We typically have around 10,000 participants.Visiting Author Series\u2014we hold two virtual events per month with New York Times bestselling authors from around the world.Coming up in the fall will be the Writers at the Pavilion event on Oct. 6 and the Guilded Leaf Luncheon on Oct. 7. Both will be held at the Ritz Charles, and we are hoping for in person this year but of course will be closely monitoring the COVID numbers.When the new building opens in 2022, there will be multiple opportunities for sponsorship: pavers outside, a donor wall inside, multiple program rooms, our Digital Media Lab, study rooms, etc.\u201d Another wonderful sponsorship opportunity is to sponsor a StoryWalk installation by the library. A StoryWalk is an innovative and delightful way for children\u2014and adults\u2014to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Pages from a children\u2019s book are installed along an outdoor path. As readers stroll down the trail, they discover the next page in the story. Walker added, \u201cThe StoryWalk program has been a blessing. I can tell you it was heartbreaking to have to close the doors of the Joyce Winner West Branch within months of its opening. And for the staff to pivot and create these wonderful story walks there in Harrison Park in the Village of WestClay has just been terrific. That\u2019s one of the programs that we will be continuing and expanding. We will be doing a StoryWalk in River Road Park out on the east side of Carmel. And another one at Harrison Park in April.\u201d Coming Out of Hibernation and Re-engaging With CCPL Walker shared some of the many engaging and FREE programs that will continue to be offered and\/or are launching this summer. \u201cIn the short term, we are continuing to do different live, online events and programs that we had to shift to early last year,\u201d Walker said. \u201cWe\u2019ve been able to experiment with doing story times on YouTube so that families can watch anytime they want to. And we\u2019ve been able to do live Zoom events for all ages. The foundation is continuing its Visiting Authors events on Facebook Live.\u201d Walker shared that by offering livestreaming and recorded programs has been wildly popular with its cardholders as they can enjoy educational and engaging programs from where they are and when it\u2019s convenient for them. \u201cWe are continuing to offer ways for people to be connected to the library, safely and conveniently,\u201d Walker emphasized. \u201cLooking ahead, I can tell you that we\u2019re starting to gear up for the Summer Reading Program that has shifted to a lot of online participation opportunities over the years, and this year, there\u2019s a fun spin\u2014we are partnering with the Hamilton County Humane Society! The program is for kids, teens and adults, and the reading that they do will count towards different donations of different things for the humane society.\u201d Additionally, CCPL is partnering with the City of Carmel to present three different animal-themed movies that will be featured in Midtown Plaza in Carmel. \u201cWe\u2019re looking for some outdoor opportunities for activities and programs,\u201d Walker said. \u201cWe will be doing outside activities in local parks, and we\u2019re looking at ways to expand what we\u2019re offering but providing opportunities that are safe in the coming months.\u201d Walker concluded, \u201cApril is Citizen Science Month, and we\u2019ve got online programs with great activities. We are putting together exploration kits that kids will be able to come check out and do Citizen Science Activities at home and outdoors. It\u2019s hard for our library staff to not be face-to-face with our community as much as we want to be. But we want to continue to engage our community and serve them in a way that is safe and convenient.\u201d For more information about CCPL\u2019s upcoming programs and how to become a sponsor or make donations to the CCPL Foundation, visit carmelclaylibrary.org.