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Shuttered Parlin and Shute libraries lag behind in community service

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The Shute Memorial Library. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

No local programs during pandemic

By JOSH RESNEK

Library buildings throughout the state are closed, but library services are still running – but not at Everett’s two public libraries.

The Parlin and Shute libraries have been rendered useless and shut down entirely because of the Coronavirus crisis.

The failure to hire a certified librarian to head the institutions is also believed to be part of the problem with a lack of direction from the library’s present leadership contributing to the problem as well.

In many other communities throughout the state, public libraries are being used in a variety of creative ways with community programming to ensure that residents can still participate in educational and entertaining programs while the stay-at-home order and social distancing are in place.

According to the Massachusetts Library Association, more than 300 libraries across the state are turning to virtual library services to their patrons.

For instance, a recent MBLC Blog posted, “Don’t get bored: Seven things for North Andoverites to try online via Stevens Memorial Library.”

The Lawrence Eagle Tribune recently published and article entitled “Local libraries close, but reading resources continue.” The Tewksbury Public Library is hosting several virtual events including an SBA workshop for small business owners and a virtual author visit.

The Parlin Memorial Library. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

The Milton Public Library apparently has a drive-thru capability for people to borrow and return books.

The Beverly Public Library is using their own Youtube channel to post videos on “quarantine cooking”, yoga, and a poetry workshop.

The Everett Public Library has no programs scheduled. In fact, the Parlin calendar has not been updated to show that the paucity of previously scheduled programs have been canceled because the library is closed.

And the Shute Library calendar only shows one program for the entire month of May.

In other municipalities, the libraries are closed to the public, but the staff is still working: weeding their collections, reorganizing their collections, providing virtual programs and assistance to parents who are now acting as teachers at home, ordering books, etc.

But not in Everett.

“It is shame there is no leadership to provide efforts that would aid in giving real help to those in need of it during this virus period,” said a library employee who wished to remain unnamed.

The Middleton Public Library has relocated some of its WiFi antennas so that they are adjacent to exterior windows so that people can use the library’s free WiFi service from the street or parking area, which would be a real help to those who are out of work and looking for a job.

The Boston Public Library is offering aid to high school students doing online homework.

In neighboring Chelsea, the public library is offering a full slate of online services in English and in Spanish.

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