Since its inception in 2018, the Ritter Public Library Foundation has excelled at its mission to ensure that Ritter Public Library will continue as a vital community resource and information hub. No one could have predicted a worldwide pandemic would affect so much of our everyday lives, including the ways in which our community uses the library.
At the outset of the pandemic, the Ritter Public Library Foundation communicated quickly with me as the director to determine how the Foundation could help. Most immediately, the staff wanted to ensure that the loss of Public Library Funding would not deter its Summer Reading Program. Consequently, in late spring, the Foundation purchased subscriptions to digital platforms, including Beanstack,that would allow for children and adults to participate in our popular Summer Reading Program, albeit completely online.
As the pandemic continued, the Foundation also offered resources to purchase the equipment necessary for staff to create programming online that will replace its typical fall programming. Before the pandemic, each month students at elementary schools and preschools in Vermilion were visited by library staff. Staff read stories, sing songs and reinforce the learning that takes place in the classrooms. Now these visits can continue, completely online.
Adults will also benefit from this equipment. So many of our community members attend book clubs and programs throughout the winter. Because of the generosity of the Ritter Public Library Foundation, these opportunities will still exist this year – through the magic of technology.
In addition the Foundation funded a subscription to KnowledgeCity that allows for employee training and additional materials through our popular hoopla resource – offering movies, eBooks, eAudiobooks and music albums.
Libraries are more important than ever during difficult times. Ritter Public Library Foundation continues to work hard to ensure that many of the resources the community of Vermilion has come to rely on will still be provided through our library.