While I am forever grateful for our first responders who have served the Island so continuously and selflessly during this pandemic, I also wanted to call attention to another group that has risen to the occasion, our Island libraries — and for me, the Oak Bluffs library.

When the pandemic forced all the libraries to close I was a bit lost. As an avid reader, not only did I take out multiple books each week as a means to relax and de-stress, but I took advantage of the carrels, computers, and printers as a quiet place to work on freelance assignments. The closures hit me hard even though I knew they were necessary.

However, I must applaud all of our Island libraries as they found way to keep supporting the public, with the seven-day quarantining of all incoming books, contact-less pick-ups (some even obtained same day), offers of free magazines (at least here in OB), to crafts for both kids and adults (the kindness rocks, and holiday potpourri were the best — thanks to Carolina Cooney). I wanted to publicly express my gratitude to library director Allyson and her staff who have directly helped me including Ralph, Marco and Carolina. The ability to keep reading books during the pandemic has been priceless to me.

While I miss the ability to browse the stacks and the chance to work in a quiet place outside the home, I know that one day we’ll have that again and am extremely grateful for what they’re providing right now and for what they are likely working on for 2021. I hope others have felt as lucky as I have to still check out materials during the pandemic.

Kris Kiehn

Oak Bluffs