Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 2, 2021
Library receives pandemic response award

The Tooele City Library received an Exemplary Library Award for their service to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic during the Nov. 17 City Council meeting.

Earlier this year, the Utah Library Division collected information about how libraries throughout the state adapted their technology, collections, services, programming, outreach, and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly during 2020, to keep librarygoers safe.

The Library Division also considered how well libraries were able to adapt to the changes needed.

Out of 59 certified public libraries in the state, five were honored with the Exemplary Library Award.

The Tooele City Library garnered the highest overall score in the state for their ability to adapt to changes.

The award was presented by Chaundra Johnson, state librarian and State Library Division Director. It was presented to Mayor Debbie Winn during the City Council meeting on Nov. 17. Jami Carter, director of the Tooele City Library,  also was honored.

“The Utah State Library gave awards for exemplary library service during the initial COVID outbreak and not only was Tooele City Library one of five libraries to receive this award in the state, but they also scored the highest,” Johnson said. “This award is a reminder of how crucial libraries are to their communities and how dedicated library staff are to the patrons they serve. The city, the mayor, and Tooele City residents should be proud that they support a library that clearly represents the values of community and caring.”

Carter said she was honored to receive the award.

“I love this team for keeping their focus on our most important work-caring about people,” Carter said. “Amidst unprecedented experiences, our team was focused on people and endeavored to do our very best work supporting individuals. We each want the best for our community. This team’s commitment to belonging is what I am most proud of through 2020 and into 2021. If we can bolster community belonging through an isolating pandemic, we can do it through anything.”

During the pandemic, the Tooele City Library had to shut down for several months and librarians had to get creative to reach members of the public.

They transitioned their programs, like children’s story time, to an online format, gained access to many more eBooks that weren’t available before, and extended the library’s Wi-Fi to the parking lot, so those working from home who didn’t have access to the internet could work from the library’s parking lot.

“Behind the scenes we were really trying to fit our services into a more virtual environment,” Carter said. “We wanted to have everything accessible for everyone.”

The library also helped residents with reference calls.

“During the time we were closed, we received thousands of reference calls,” Carter said. “These calls ranged from COVID questions to people needing help with internet access for school and more. We became a community connector.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Carter wrote over $68,000 in grants for library services.

To find out more information about the library, please visit tooelecity.org and click on the library tab.

 

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