Editor’s Note: report was updated at 7:44 a.m. to fix a spelling of a name.
By Nick Barry
FRAMINGHAM – After 15 long months, the Framingham Public Library is finally ready to return to normal.
Starting on Tuesday, July 6, the main Framingham Library on Lexington Street will be open Mondays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays & Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And the Christa McAuliffe branch library on Water Street is returning to its pre-pandemic hours too.
Besides being able to visit full time, guests will also have access to meeting rooms and public spaces, as well as be able to attend indoor and outdoor programming.
Both libraries physically closed its doors to the public on Friday, March 13, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the staff worked hard to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, as they made all of its activities virtual, through programs such as a digital Storytime and FPL Kitchen. They also posted many of the recordings of their events a a new Framingham Public Library YouTube channel.
Besides restructuring their programming, library staff also did their part to help the community throughout the crisis by providing citizens with services such as informative phone calls about pandemic protocols, mask donations, wellness checks for senior patrons, curbside
pickup, and increased access to audiobooks, eBooks, databases, and other electronic resources.
“We worked really hard to try and engage and connect with our community in all of the ways that we could possibly think of,” said Framingham Public Library Director Lena Kilburn.
In April 2021, the library re-opened for in-person browsing, and now it will fully re-open this month.
Once the library opens, there will be a variety of events that patrons can look forward too.
One such event is “Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Damselflies of MetroWest,” which is part of the animal themed summer reading program “Tails and Tales,” where families can learn more about common butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies that live in the area. It will take place on July 8 via Zoom.
Why some programming will still be virtual, in-person programming does return in July 2021 – starting with a screening of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark on Friday, July 16 at the main library, and a showing of The Princess Bride on July 23 at the McAuliffe Branch. Both screenings start at 6;30 p.m. and patrons will be required to register in advance.
Kilburn said the film screenings are part of a larger campaign called FPL Live and In Person! which aims to get patrons back inside the library.
“We want to remind people that we’re here live, and that our librarians are here to welcome people into the buildings and get us re-engaged with one another physically,” she said.
Many patrons are looking forward to the library fully reopening, as they depend on it to work, learn, study, and socialize.
One of these excited patrons is Nomso Emetarom, a law school student who lives in Framingham.
“I’m happy that there’s a study area that I can use up until the wee hours of the night,” he said.
Nicholas “Nick” Barry is a student at Westfield State University but lives in Framingham. Nick is an English Major that is focusing on writing, but he is currently finishing up his second major in Ethnic Studies. Although he is unsure of what the future will hold, he wants to do work related to journalism or solving important social issues. This is his second time interning with SOURCE.