The Director’s Nest – Summer  2020

The New Normal

As we begin our summer of “new normal”, Clark Memorial Library is transitioning to provide a balance of virtual and onground programs that make use of all of our resources.  We are excited about offering “Clark@Curbside”, as well as our virtual storytimes,  visiting  experts and our first Public Art exhibition as part of our summer programming.  Staff is now in the building regularly — wearing masks and smiling beneath them!  We are all happy to back.

In this time of uncertainty libraries are choosing how to move forward responsibly, and every community is making choices that keep library staff and library users safe.  While libraries have the State’s permission to open during Stage Two of the Governor’s reopening plan, at Clark we will not open the building until we have adjusted the environment to make it safe for all.   

The many questions we’ve received about the Library opening are certainly heartwarming.  The decision to open our library building to the public will need to be based on evaluation by our local health district, local library governance (including the Bethany Library Association Board and the Town of Bethany), the physical characteristics of our building and our own staffing levels, as well as State-level plans for returning to normal.  

 Here are some of the state guidelines  that need to be addressed before a library can reopen to the public in a way that is safe for both visitors and staff:

  • Adequate PPE for library staff and visitors
  • Possible limits on the number of people in the building
  • Possible limits on the amount of time visitors spend here
  • Separation of people using computers or study rooms
  • Redesign or suspension of events that bring in large groups, including children’s summer programs
  • Redesign or adaptation of places where people interact face-to-face, such as check-out desks or reference services
  • Planning to accomplish disinfection of shared surfaces multiple times during each work day

Before we are ready to open fully, we will continue to help you by phone or e-mail and will initiate and expand no-contact services such as virtual programming and curbside delivery.

Please revisit our home page often so you can follow our progress!

Director, Clark Memorial Library


The Director’s Nest – April 2020

National Library Week

Tucked away on the top floor of Clark Memorial Library is a cozy spot near the center of activity at the circulation desk.  It is just big enough to hold the hopes and dreams of a library director and the energy of a very committed community — a nest to nurture and grow all that is best about a public library. It is also a perfect spot to say hello to everyone who visits!
Bethany has been blessed with not only a beautiful setting, but with active and creative citizens who value the library as a cultural and civic center. The Bethany Library Association has grown over the past 80+ years from a dedicated group of neighbors to its full potential as a force in the community today, drawing on the expertise of volunteers who generously share their time and passions.  From my perspective as a professional librarian, it is an enormous privilege to be able to work together for a shared vision of lifelong learning and community engagement.
I came to Bethany a few months ago to work with the Bethany Library Association and the dedicated Clark Memorial Library staff.  I spent many hours this winter in my new “nest” – popping out frequently to meet local library patrons and work on community activities. As I collaborated with the Friends of the Library on the second annual Mini-Golf event (thank you Cathy, Kathy, Nancy and Susan!), with  Town Hall on our contributions to the Bethany Bulletin (thank you Lina!) — as I listened  in on the monthly Leaders Night with the First Selectman and state representatives  (thank you Paula!)— I felt immersed in the energy and drive of the community.  The Nifty Needlers, the Book Club, the Writers Group, the Appy Hour tech help (thank you Sean and Harrison!), the weekend teen offerings (thank you Helen and William)   and the incredible Arts @ Clark Program  (thank you Liz!) all emerged from this little library building that has been described as “Small but Mighty” (thank you Melissa!) .
What a true and enormously understated comment!  “Small but Mighty” does not even begin to describe the synergy and impact of the efforts in the library or the incredible work of the library staff (thank you Jean, Dorothy, Hazel, Marcelle and Tom)!
In the past few weeks  the  COVID-19 situation  has challenged the library to enhance and transform — to meet unprecedented demands — and plan to maintain services that support our commitment to being a vital part of  Bethany.  You will see in coming weeks that will have a new website design, new virtual features  – and as we begin to emerge from this crisis – the library will continue to transform, enhancing virtual offerings and refining our approaches to both virtual and on ground services.   In the next few weeks  the Bethany Library Association and the library staff will be planning how to be stronger and more vibrant than ever.  We welcome your suggestions and comments – please send your thoughts to me at
For now, to celebrate National Library week — explore our website and the digital resources available  – and  come back often to visit and discover what is new!!
Gayle (writing from the virtual Director’s Nest)
Director, Clark Memorial Library