Volunteers Kept the Libraries Going During the Pandemic

SaddleBrooke One volunteers Bente Fongemie and Margart Betanzos with FSL Vice President Barry Schwartzberg

Sharon Scanlan, Cathy Schaber, Bernice Christian, and Laura Benson, Managers

Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, all three libraries never wavered in offering outstanding library service to the community. We could not have done this without a core group of very dedicated volunteers who were willing to work, even with all the restrictions and changes.

As we all remember, in late March 2020 everything shut down in SaddleBrooke and throughout the world!

In late April 2020, the SaddleBrooke One Library developed a great curbside service plan and opened three afternoons a week for pick-up outside under the portico. In early June 2020, DesertView implemented the same process, though the DesertView Complex hadn’t reopened. All returns in both libraries had to be quarantined for a number of days before they could be checked in. We had to quarantine until May 2021 when restrictions were lifted.

In Fall of 2020, both libraries opened with limited hours which, in DesertView, was by appointment only. Curbside service continued. SaddleBrooke residents learned to use the online catalog to request books and DVDs for pick-up. In Spring 2021 hours were expanded, and curbside service was eliminated. On July 1, 2021, both libraries fully reopened.

The MountainView clubhouse was closed in March of 2020. When the clubhouse reopened in July of that year, the Cholla Library staff set up a table outside of the library to give free donated books to its patrons until the library was able to fully reopen in November of that year. All returns had to be quarantined in an adjacent meeting room until May of 2021 when all restrictions were lifted. It was a very challenging task, but our volunteers met the challenge without a complaint!

Our managers continually had to develop new procedures with each change to the type of service we provided. Our outstanding volunteers provided curbside service during one of the hottest Arizona summers on record in 2020. Many said that reading and watching DVDs helped them cope with the loneliness and boredom during the quarantine in 2020. We are also very grateful to both HOA staff for their support as we modified and changed our service.

Through the pandemic, the libraries continued to buy the newest books and DVDs with grant funds from the Friends of the SaddleBrooke Libraries, the nonprofit that provides all of the funds each year for the libraries to purchase books, DVDs, and audiobooks for your enjoyment. If you use the SaddleBrooke Libraries, please support the Friends of the SaddleBrooke Libraries (FSL), www.sbfsl.org.

You can access the library catalog and find out more about the libraries at the website www.sblibraries.com.