Since July, Highlands County libraries have been open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. During these days, patrons can use computers, browse the shelves, and borrow materials. The libraries offer curbside services on Fridays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. The libraries are closed on Tuesdays. Library staff spend this day sanitizing and checking in items that have been isolated for 14 days. Just like pre-COVID days, Highlands County libraries are still closed Sunday-Monday.
We hope to see healthy faces in the libraries, so for the safety of the public and staff, if you have a fever we would prefer to serve you curbside on Friday. Staff in the libraries wear a mask and strongly encourage patrons to wear them but masks are not required in the libraries.
The Summer Reading Program was a great success thanks to generous financial support from the Friends groups of the Highlands County libraries. These non-profit organizations assist the libraries in various ways. During the summer months of June and July, Highlands County libraries prepared and distributed just over 1,000 craft kits to our community. These craft kits contained everything one would need to assemble the included craft. Videos of library staff reading stories and assembling the crafts were uploaded to the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Facebook page weekly for the public. Each week a new story and craft were presented based on a theme. The themes ranged from dragons and princesses to pirates and beanstalks.
As we usher in the school year, keep in mind that the Highlands County libraries have the Sunshine State Young Reader Award (SSYRA) program books available. These books are chosen by a committee of media specialists from Florida public schools. According to floridamediaed.org, they are chosen based on their “wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and/or multicultural representation.” All the books are “AR books,” and lists in the catalog can show you what is available to be checked out or requested.
Keep a lookout for the brand new library program, called “It’s Lit!,” launching in September. The libraries will provide 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students with a new reading suggestion every month. Each book chosen will be an “AR Book.” The books suggested as part of this program are available in print or electronically through Axis 360. Axis 360 is a free service available to all Highlands County residents who have a library card.
Highlands County libraries are open three days a week to serve patrons inside the building and curbside service is available Friday. “It’s Lit!” launches in September so keep an eye out for information on the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Facebook page. Masks are not required in the libraries but we strongly encourage using them. If you have any questions about information in this article please contact any branch of the Highlands County Library: Avon Park Public Library 863-452-3803, Lake Placid Memorial Library 863-699-3705, Sebring Public Library 863-402-6716.