Franklin Countys First News

An update from the Jay-Niles Memorial Library

JAY - The Jay-Niles Memorial Library has been closed to the public since March 16, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has changed the way that we do business. We have had to look at ways to give patrons access to our collection in a way that keeps library patrons and staff safe while also fulfilling our patrons’ intellectual and information needs during closure. It is a struggle that every library in the State of Maine has faced. At present, most libraries in the state are still not open for the public to come into the library building. While most other town departments have opened up in some capacity, libraries are different. Libraries want nothing more than to be able to be open, providing the material and services that the public has come to expect, yet, we need to take into account the unique nature of a library. Libraries are community gathering places where people come to socialize, browse, study, use computers, etc. Whereas, if one goes to a store, they enter, get what they need and leave; at a library, materials are chosen, returned and recirculated.

The viability of the virus on surfaces is an area where knowledge is evolving. We know that it can live on some surfaces longer than others. There is currently a study underway by Battelle, testing how long the virus stays on a number of different library materials. While libraries wait for the results of this study, most libraries have erred on the side of caution by putting materials in quarantine for 72 hours to 7 days upon being returned to the library and further disinfecting them as much as possible before they are once again placed on library shelves and recirculated. Many libraries are just now allowing materials to be returned. Their book drops have been closed while their physical buildings have been closed.

The Jay-Niles Memorial Library has kept the book drop accessible to library patrons to return their materials throughout the pandemic, with the understanding patrons could also choose to hold onto materials until the library reopens. We have provided materials via curbside for most of the stay at home order with the exception of about two weeks when Governor Janet Mills declared the executive order requiring all non-essential personnel to stay home. Curbside, for our library, works in the following way: patrons request materials by emailing the library director at, through Facebook messenger, and by phone (messages on the answering machine are acceptable). The librarian uses a new pair of gloves to select the materials off the shelf, places them in unused plastic bags, writes the patron’s first name on it, and then places the bag under the library portico. The patron is then notified that his or her materials are ready for pick-up.

In addition to books, we have also been circulating DVDS and audiobooks. Priscilla Pineau, our Children’s Librarian, has created some reading and activity kits that we are circulating to families who request them. There are a total of 18 different kits. They are organized into levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced and categories such as planting, baking, humor, letters, words, and others. Please contact the library if interested in borrowing one of these curbside.

During closure, we have seen an uptick in patrons accessing the CloudLibrary (Digital Downloads from Maine Infonet) to access reading materials and audiobooks in digital formats. Materials may be borrowed on your phone, tablet, computer, and eReader. You just need your library card number in order to be able to access the CloudLibrary. Go to Once you are on the library website, you will see Maine Infonet Download Library on the left, you will want to click on that. Once you click on that, you will be taken to a page with an introduction to what the Download Library is. Click on the link there. This will take you to Maine Infonet Download Library, you will then choose Jay-Niles Memorial Library from the drop-down menu. You will also need to download the CloudLibrary App. After doing that, you will be able to enjoy the statewide offerings.

It is our hope, at Jay-Niles Memorial Library, that we can start to allow patrons to come into the library in a limited capacity after the 4th of July holiday, exact start date to be determined. What we would like, is to be open one or two days a week by appointment and see how that goes. In all likelihood, these hours will not align with our regular library hours. Over time, the make up of our patrons has changed. We would like to test out hours earlier in the day and see how that goes. More information with be forthcoming. Appointments will be on a transaction basis and limited to 15 minutes with no more that one to three people in the library at a time from one family. The library has purchased sneeze guards and other PPE including face masks and gloves for use by staff and patrons. We will be requiring those who enter the building to wear face coverings. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with one. We also will require gloves be worn to handle materials. We will provide those for patrons as well. We will have touch-less hand sanitizing dispensers which will also be available when you enter and exit the building. We know it may be some time yet before we are back up and running at full capacity and even then, there are likely to be physical parameters in effect to keep everyone safe and socially distanced. Please bear with us! We will be complying with the COVID 19 General Guidance Checklist (used for all businesses), the Public and Community Buildings checklist, provided by the state, The Public Library Checklist, approved by the Maine Library Commission, and we will work with the town as well as library board to develop a plan for safely reopening,. Lastly, we will fill out the COVID-19 Prevention Form and print out the badge for our entrance indicating that our practices are in compliance with what the Governor of Maine and the Maine CDC recommend. The Public Library checklist was formally submitted to Commissioner Heather Johnson of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and to Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.

In other library news, we will be offering two summer reading programs this year. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold the programs in the library. Instead, we will offer “Take and Make” packets for young people. Plans for the summer programs had been in the works for many months before we closed due to the pandemic. As the weeks dragged on, it became apparent that we would not be able to hold the programs in the library due to precautions around the pandemic. We then had to get creative and recreate our programs to fit our new reality. Priscilla Pineau (known to the children as Mrs. Pineau), our Children’s Librarian has spent numerous hours both in the library and at home working on tweaking the Young Peoples’ Summer Reading Program and creating the packets for the children to pick up outside the library and take home with them. Our plan is to offer the Hello Maine! program in such a way as to allow “interaction at a distance.”


Hello Maine!
Young People’s Summer Reading Program 2020

So, as you probably guessed, this year’s summer reading program for young people is based on the State of Maine. Did you know that your state turned 200 years old on March 15, 2020? On March 15, 1820, Maine officially became a state. Our Children’s Summer Reading Program will celebrate our great state with “take and make” packets. If your child has taken part in the Summer Reading Program before, they will soon be receiving a letter explaining how this year’s program will go in a bit more detail. If you don’t receive a letter but would like one, please send us your address and we will pop one in the mail! If you sign your kids up, you will be picking up packets with your child’s name on it weekly under our portico. We ask that you let us know when it is convenient to come and pick up the kit/packet and we will set it out for you to be picked up during that time. There will be posters and display boards under the portico, so we ask that you bring your kids with you so you can view them while picking up your materials. Although you will not be able to come into the library and participate in our hall upstairs as you may have become accustomed to, we want you to know that we are still thinking of you and want to present a program that young people and families will enjoy and remember. The packets will contain facts, pictures, activities and much more to enjoy, all related to Maine! The kiddos will still be reading and getting credit for it but it won’t be on sticker charts in the library like it has been in the past. We would like the young people to create projects which will be displayed in our windows throughout the summer. This will be explained in more detail in your packets. We hope this will create and experience that you will look forward to every week.

Unlike previous years when you would come into the library to register your children, this year we want folks to sign up ahead of time if at all possible. You can still sign up after the start date, which is July 6, but doing so earlier will help us prepare and plan the number of packets we need to create ahead of time. For sign up, we need your children’s name, age, grade (if in school), a phone number, an email address (if you have one) and mailing address. You can call and sign up if you prefer. If you leave a message on the answering machine, be sure to speak clearly (messages sometimes get garbled). You may also register by sending an e-mail to or by using Facebook messenger.


If your children fall into the Tween (ages 9-12) or Teen category, they may be interested in our program for older kids which has been developed by Alexis Burbank, artist and part-time employee at the library. Please know that if they fall into this age category, they may participate in either program if they choose. Please see below the information on the Tween and Teen Program. -

2020 Tween (generally ages 9-12) and Teen Summer Reading Program “Around the World” at Jay-Niles Memorial Library

Pack your suitcases! Starting July 1, we are inviting area teens (and tweens) to take a trip around the world with the Jay-Niles Memorial Library Tween and Teen Summer Reading program. Each participant will receive a “Passport to Reading” log to track what they read throughout the summer. Read books about other cultures or by authors from other countries and be entered into a drawing to win a special prize! This year’s program is going to look a little different as we will not be able to host events in the library as usual. Instead, we will be offering weekly “Take and Make” packets filled with crafts, games, and recipes from other countries to bring home. For more information please contact the library at (207)645-4062 or email

As with the younger kid’s program, we would like participants to sign up in advance if possible. A phone call (645-4062), email, or Facebook message is sufficient to register. Please provide us with names, ages, grade going into, phone number, e-mail address, and mailing address.

The following is the schedule for the summer:

Week 1 - The Americas
This packet will feature crafts from North and South America including everything needed to make a leather pouch and woven god’s eye wall hanging.

Week 2 - Africa
You can use recycled magazines to create all kinds of things! From beads, to baskets, to bowls- explore African folk art in this packet.

Week 3 - Asia
Did you know that the first book was made in China? Learn how to bind your very own sketchbook or journal with this packet. Try your hand at Japanese Origami and even learn how to draw Kawaii (cute) chibi characters.

Week 4 - Europe
String art was invented in late Victorian England as a way to teach geometry to children. Now it is making a comeback as a fun art form for all ages! We will also explore the symbolism of the Celtic knot with a fun bracelet making activity that would look good on anyone.

Week 5 – Australia
Take a trip down under while learning how to create beautiful dot mandalas and your own boomerang (that really works!)

Week 6 – India and the Middle East
Among many things, India is known for its beautiful patterned fabric. Each kit will include a wooden block stamp from India to decorate a canvas pencil pouch that you can use. Make a clay hand dish inspired by the Middle Eastern festival of Ramadan.

Just like with the younger kid’s program, packets will be placed under the portico. Parents-Please coordinate with library staff to schedule day and time to pick up activity packets.

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1 Responses »

  1. We are so fortunate to have this library and their staff available during these pandemic times. They are so helpful and make it easy to order what we want to read. The Library portico works for us. These folks are still working hard to keep their patrons happy.

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