The Fort Worth Public Library is back in business. After reduced hours and closures during the height of the pandemic, their 16 locations across the area have worked to not only re-open to pre-pandemic hours, but also bring the public a mix of in-person and virtual offerings with English and Spanish titles.
“I think of summer reading as a time to relax my brain,” Director of the Fort Worth Library Manya Shorr said. “We are one of the few places in the world where you can just come and be. That’s a pretty powerful thing.”
Shorr was awarded the 2020 Texas Librarian of the Year and said this summer might be more important than any other as they try to help families get back in the swing of reading, especially at a library.
The Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge is also back this year from June 1 through August 31. The Fort Worth Library is hosting activities and reading tracking through their mobile app and website.
“It’s just a way to encourage people of all ages to read. People can earn badges and prizes based on the number of minutes they read during the summer,” Shorr said. “The beauty of the public library is that you don’t have to pay. You can check out a huge stack of books for free and if you don’t read them all, it’s fine. The library provides that access to all families, especially those who may not have the financial means to always purchase new books."
The library is also still offering virtual programming and curbside pickup for families that aren't ready to come in again just yet.
“We always have free, downloadable books that you can put on your e-reader or your Kindle and bluetooth them in your car. You don’t even have to come in if you want to get a book,” Shorr said.
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The Fort Worth Public Library’s newest location, Golden Triangle, also offers DVD’s, binge watching boxes, geocaching, cooking challenges and wi-fi hot spots that can be checked out to keep families connected during the time away from school.
They even have a calendar of events for all ages.
Fort Worth’s 16 library locations are averaging 30,000 walk-in visitors a month and that number is expected to continue to increase as more families feel comfortable venturing out as COVID-19 cases decline.