Beardsley and Memorial Library in Winsted
Beardsley and Memorial Library in Winsted

Libraries all over the area have been closed since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the years, these libraries have become more than just a place to check out books, but also community centers where many programs for both children and adults are held daily.
Despite the closures of the libraries itself, local area libraries are now offering many of the same programs online that it would offer in-person.
“I think these online programs are very important because it helps people stay connected with each other and the library,” Beardsley Library Director Karin Taylor said. “You have to consider that residents are all part of our library family. We see them all the time in the library, including families with young children. I think it’s important for them to see familiar faces that they trust, even through Zoom.”
“We are really happy that we have been able to continue with our recurring programs online,” Norfolk Library Director Ann Havemeyer said. “It’s really important that we have programs through Zoom because people have enjoyed seeing each other and getting back in touch with each other. With social isolation. None of us have been able to do that.”
“It’s something that’s not just new for the patrons, but for us too,” Licia and Mason Beekley ​Community Library director David MacHenry said. “We took a few days to work at putting the programs online, but we wanted to make sure that if we were going to go online that we would be doing it properly.”
Since the March shutdown, Beardsley Library’s programs have included virtual cooking classes, storytimes, teen activities, a presentation by the Bent of the River Audubon Center, and an art challenge.
“We have a very creative staff,” Taylor said. “They were very quickly able to come up with different ideas. We experimented with several things. We feel that this is probably going to be our new normal for a while where we can have events online. For both children and adults, there’s a lot of people where the library is part of their social network. I want them to feel that we care about them and we still want them to stay connected. We also want to stay within our mission of promoting lifelong learning and cultural enrichment.”
For more information about Beardsley Library and its programs go to its website at or its Facebook page at
Over at the Norfolk Library, Havemeyer said that the library is continuing with many of its weekly programs in a virtual manner.
The library has also virtually continued with its book club and even its knitting group.
“I attended one of the virtual knitting groups, and it’s wonderful,” Havemeyer
said. “You see everybody working from their home and they are all able to chat while knitting. It keeps up the comradery with the various projects that they are doing.”
Havemeyer added that the library will continue with its virtual programs throughout the year.
For more information about the Norfolk Library’s programs, including its Night Owl email newsletter, go to or its Facebook page at
Over at the Licia and Mason Beekley ​Community Library, MacHenry said that the library is utilizing both Zoom and YouTube for storytime, book club, and yoga programs.
“We are working now on getting some YouTube videos up of arts and crafts, along with gardening programs, history lessons, and meditation classes,” MacHenry said. We’re working to get a bigger selection as we can that appeal to everyone from children to adults. We’re always on the lookout for new programs, and we’re even thinking of a drum circle Zoom class.”
For more information about the Licia and Beekley Community Library’s programs go to or its Facebook page at
While the three library directors hope that patrons in the community are enjoying online programs, the three all agreed that they miss seeing members of the community on a daily basis.
“We miss our patrons terribly,” Havemeyer said. “The staff has been calling patrons to find out how they are doing and just to keep in touch.”
“I don’t think anyone has an idea of when the libraries will reopen,” Taylor said. “We do have a plan in place, but there’s not a timeline for it because we don’t know what the timing is going to be. It all depends on what the governor and the local health department tells us. We have to go by that because our goal is to keep our patrons and staff safe.”