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Library, Musem Team Up to Keep Community Engaged

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – Despite being closed to the public, the Gaston County Public Library (GCPL) and the Gaston County Museum of Art and History are still working to keep the community engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic by collaborating on a project called “We Draw Story Time.”

Alexander Brooks, who is the Education Manager at the museum, and Dallas Branch Library Manager Chrissie McGovern were working on separate projects to engage the community, and a museum staff member mentioned to Brooks that McGovern was still hosting her story time virtually from home.

“That reminded me of a TV show I used to love when I was really little called ‘The Book Bird.’ The host would read a story and at the same time, was illustrating it,” Brooks said.

When he approached McGovern with the idea for “We Draw Story Time,” she jumped at the chance.

“It's a good thing I was a children's librarian for ten years -- my at-home collection of picture books is endless! I compiled a list of titles that would appeal to a variety of ages, while sparking creativity and imagination,” McGovern said.

The duo have planned 10 videos, all with accompanying coloring pages for each book that families can download from the museum’s website. Both Brooks and McGovern said the goal is to engage their audience in different and unique ways, as well as to “challenge them to look at their world in a different perspective.”  

Outside of the “We Draw Story Time” project, the Gaston County Museum is using its social media presence to showcase rarely seen artifacts from the collection, as well as introducing its staff to the public at large. The staff is working with Gaston County Schools by offering virtual programming for teachers and participating in the virtual Career Day with Hawks Nest STEAM Academy in Gastonia. If you would like to see what the museum has planned, visit www.gastoncountymuseum.org.

The GCPL and its branch locations continue to focus on early literacy by conducting virtual story times on Facebook. Plus, residents with library cards can access eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and music through the library’s digital services such as hoopla, NC Live, and Tumblebooks, just to name a few. If you do not have a library card, you can register for a temporary virtual card. Since closing to the public, the library has issued 162 virtual cards, which are valid now through July 28. Once the library reopens, these cards must be converted to a physical library card before they expire. For more information, visit www.gastonlibrary.org.

Gaston County leaders closed the libraries and museum to the public on Tuesday, March 17. Gaston County leaders are working on a plan for what a gradual re-opening of in-person library and museum services will look like for this summer.

“The building may be dark, but the Museum is most definitely still working and still serving our community,” said Brooks.

 

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