COLUMBUS - Businesses across the state have experienced labor shortages, and the Columbus Metropolitan Library is no exception. Branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library will be closed on Sundays through at least Jan. 9.
Abby Kiracofe, the division manager for the Columbus Metropolitan Main Library’s Children Division, has always enjoyed a good storytime, but it has looked very different the past year and a half. The pandemic caused them to move storytime online and offer curbside pickup. While the vaccine rate has increased and inside activities have returned, they struggle to employ a full staff.
“We do have a staffing shortage,” said Kiracofe. “We’re spread pretty thin on the floor and we want to get back to pre-pandemic times. We’re not doing as many storytimes as we would like but we are inching towards it."
In response to the shortage, all Columbus Metropolitan Libraries will now close their doors on Sundays. The library was already on a reduced schedule, but they will operate six days a week until the new year. During this time, the library hopes to fill the 160 open positions.
“A lot of our employees have been working longer hours or filling in," said Chief Community Executive Donna Zuiderweg. “We saw that Sundays were a time when the library isn’t as busy so we decided to just close our doors and build up our team in the meantime”.
Kiracofe said that she’s been working to recruit and build up a new team. In her years of service, she has found that the main thing that makes a good librarian is building a rapport with the community.
“We can foster meaningful positive relationships with our young people and the adults in this space,'' said Kiracofe. “We are going to help them better a world of reading, we can make connections and support them with their homework."
Kiracofe said by the beginning of the year, she hopes the library will once again feel like home.
“On a Saturday, in the summer, we could easily have 100 people for our storytimes here and when you walk into the Main Library, you can really feel that the children’s area is the heartbeat of the library and we’re so, so, looking forward to getting back to that," Kiracofe said.
If you are interested in applying you can visit the Columbus Metropolitan Library website.