CI Hero: Peoria library curbside workers put safety, literacy at the forefront during the pandemic

CI Heroes

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Literacy remaining a top choice for Peorians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Curbside workers from numerous backgrounds are making touch-free rentals, exchanges, and returns as safe as possible.

Even though branches opened up Monday for inside service, curbside library workers remain this week’s CI Heroes.

Racks of books in Peoria Public Library’s North Branch are on hold for pick up come every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“Recreation. Escape. Having something fun to do. Something you enjoy,” said Executive Director of the library district, Randall Yelverton. “That’s a really important part of library services and I feel like we’ve been able to provide that to folks during what has been a very challenging few months.”

It’s curbside service began May 6 at all five branches. Molly Spengle, a reference assistant and mom to 5-year-old Violet, said safety measures are paramount.

“I can say from personal experience, books are a great escape for people,” said Spengler. “Violet loves books.”

Violet was diagnosed with cancer this past year.

“I think every one of us has a Violet in our life, someone that we really care about, who you know, getting this virus would be a lot more dangerous for them,” said Spengler. “So we all have a good reason to be responsible right now.”

Cardholders are called when orders are ready to pick up. Staff then walk outside and place items in vehicle trunks, preferably, or through backseat car windows.
Some days workers said they saw more than 190 cars.

“They’re taking books out to folks every day and doing it with a smile,” said Yelverton. “I feel like they have been a bright spot in what has been a challenging few months.”

Peoria Public Library Branches reopened Monday. Curbside pick up will still be available at every location.

Spengler said her daughter is now in remission.

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