Local News

Essential: Moore County Public Library’s Peggy Gold

{Editor’s Note: This is the tenth of a multi-part series highlighting all the essential folks in Moore County. Readers nominated each interview subject. To nominate someone, email editor@lynchburg-times.com.}

Moore County Director of Library Services Peggy Gold says her staff strives to make the public library the space the community needs … pandemic or not. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

It’s your library … your way … even in a global pandemic, at least according to Moore County’s Director of Library Services Peggy Gold.

For example, it’s a weekday and an unnamed Moore County Public Library (MCPL) patron needs help creating a Regional eBook and Audiobook Download System (READS) account on her iPad. Normally she and a MCPL employee would huddle together to walk through the steps. Today, they are separated by a pane of glass at the front entrance while playing a clever game of follow the leader.

“They were outside the door with their iPad and we were holding up our iPad, and walking her through the steps,” says Director Gold. “It worked and she got connected.”

Just two months ago things looked a lot different. Preschoolers gathered in the morning for story time. At noon, local readers lingered in the stacks browsing the new books. By the afternoon, local students spilled out of school buses and into the library as Gold met them at the front door. Teenagers could be found huddle in beanbags in every corner. Staff were eagerly planning programs and activities for locals.

“Here in Lynchburg, we don’t have a community center, so we took on that roll,” Director Gold says.

Gold says every time she sees a community need, the library tries to fill it. They’ve done quilting workshops, crafting projects, book clubs, and even yoga classes … whatever the community showed an interest in. That’s because the library belongs to the citizens, she says.

“I don’t think people in this county understand that this library belongs to them. Tax payers paid for everything in this library,” Director Gold says.

Gold and her staff know their patrons intimately. They know their reading habits, the days of the week they usually visit, and whether they prefer large print or audio books. When the pandemic hit, they were forced to limit the library to curbside services only but they’ve tried to bring that same patron-focus to this new way of serving the community.

Citizens still check out Chromebooks and laptops … now, they simply sit in the library parking lot to use them. Staff even come out and give car side tech support when necessary. Books are still checked in and out, but now that happens mainly through the library’s two book drops. Staff then thoroughly disinfects all materials before they are returned to circulation.

Director Gold says one of their biggest “contact less” services has been the themed book bags staff have put together for local students based on the their interests … from American Girl dolls to farming. They’ve created over 200 since the curbside services began.

“We’ve noticed that many kids come by on Mondays when they go to LES to pick up food for the week,” Director Gold says. “We just kind of stand at the window and wave big.”

Director Gold says she isn’t sure when the library will open back up for walk in services. Officially, all state libraries fall under the Secretary of State’s office and don’t fit in any of the categories the governor often references. As such, the MCPL will look to the Regional Library System for guidance as well as the local Metro Mayor’s office. Once they get a plan in place, it will need to be approved by the MCPL Board.

When we ask her what she misses most about library business as usual, she says it’s interacting with patrons.

“I like to talk,” she says. “I like people.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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