While many public libraries in the state remain closed due to COVID or are only offering curbside services, Gilmer Public Library re-opened June 1, 2020 after three months of quarantine, and on September 1, returned to full operating hours. The library is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., with eight people permitted inside the building at a time. Masks are requested, but staff will serve those without masks, provided they wait outside while staff gives those inside the building the opportunity to leave first.

Gilmer Public Library was one of the first public libraries in the state to re-open after mandated quarantine, and except for in-person programming, is offering full services. Many community patrons use the library’s copy, lamination, and fax services, as well as the public computers, and the library board and director recognized the need for the doors to re-open as soon as possible. Of course, patrons also use the library to check out free books and movies, and the library now receives 20 new-release adult titles every month. Because of the increased need for video broadcasting, the library now also offers a video production room for the public at no charge. Backdrops, microphones, and lighting are provided.

Gilmer Public Library was also one of the first libraries in the state to offer wifi services outside the building, having done so more than a year before quarantine forced other libraries to offer this service. The GPL Wi-Fi connection is available outside the building, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the access password is Gilmer5620. Gilmer Public Library has also been outfitted with the state’s Kids Connect Wi-Fi service, accessible only by those with a Gilmer Public School email address. Outdoor seating, shelter, and solar charging stations are available.

Though the service has been available for many years, more and more people have been accessing free ebooks with their library cards this year. All card-holding patrons have access to free ebooks via WV Reads using the Overdrive or Libby app on their cell phone or tablet. WV Reads can also be accessed on a desktop or laptop. Simply log into the app or web site, choose the library that issued your library card, and follow the directions to log in.

During this time, patrons have also discovered they can search the library’s catalog of books and movies on the library’s web site at Using this online program, patrons can check out books online to be waiting for pickup, place holds on books they want to read, keep track of the books they have read, and place interlibrary loans. Just follow the “Search Our Catalog” link on the web site. For online classes, research, magazines, and computer tutorials, check out the online databases.

Over the summer, GPL offered a Summer Learning Program valued at nearly $40,000. This included an online summer reading program with challenges, prizes, activities, and book reviews; two story hikes; the launch of five reading-themed geocaches; Japanese video storytime once a month; and 400 activity packets placed in the mini-libraries throughout the county. The program ended on August 31.

In September, GPL began offering video storytime every Thursday afternoon, posted on the library’s Facebook page. Storytime is led by Assistant Librarian Monica Goguen, who chooses a new children’s book every week, reads it on video, then edits the video and adds musical backgrounds. Once the videos are posted, they will remain on the library’s page until December 31, 2020. (Video storytimes are beholden to copyright laws, and publishers have currently granted permissions until the end of the year.)

In October, because the library’s Writer’s Group is unable to meet as a group, GPL began posting daily writing prompts on their Facebook page as well. Writing prompts are posted early in the morning, so writers can access them whenever they have a quiet time to write.

During this year, GPL has emerged as a library “ahead of the game,” providing services needed during quarantine and now, the “new normal.” GPL is open regular hours, offering all the in-house services provided before quarantine, as well as new features and services implemented during the quarantine. During these challenging times, your library is here. You are welcome to visit in person, to make use of the mini-libraries, and to enjoy the library’s online features.

Gilmer Public Library is funded by the West Virginia Library Commission, Gilmer County levy funds, The Friends of Gilmer Public Library, Inc., and by private donations. If you have any questions concerning library services available to you, please call 304-462-5620.