Given that our libraries are temporarily shuttered due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, how ironic that the slogan of National Library Week, this week, is “Find Your Place at the Library.”

Or is it?

For many years, Appalachian Regional Library has been utilizing advanced technology to boost its digital offerings and programs, and connecting with other educational and entertainment online services to create a library system that for many intents and purposes exists not only in brick-and-mortar facilities, but within our homes, schools, business and increasingly, on the devices we carry in our pockets.

Now, we check out and read library books, view loaned movies, attend meetings, programs and story times, and even take a class without ever visiting a physical library.

During this time of social distancing, many of us have come to learn another side of that physical structure — the side that grants us access inside, even as we must stay outside. And unlike other services we depend upon for education and entertainment, the cost of the offerings at our library remains the same as it always has — a valid library card.

Yes, we will welcome the day when we can again walk or drive to the library or bring our children to a physical story time, but today, because of the work of our county librarians and staff, many of us are not only finding our places at our library, but finding that those places are more essential than ever.

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