Whitman Library Goes Digital

HAYDYN WALLENDER, Evergreen reporter

With 14 different locations of the Whitman County Library all closed for quarantine, Director Kristie Kirkpatrick is doing what she can to continue the availability of resources for students and their families.

“The change has been challenging,” Kirkpatrick said. “We are adapting as quickly as we can.”

One of the ways the Whitman County Library is adapting is by digitally updating their website. The library installed new software in order to explore the programs that the library has to offer, Kirkpatrick said.

With a library card, students and their families can access online programs and course work, which is quite a bit offered for a rural library, Kirkpatrick said. Vendors have also provided free products and resources for the library to stream online.

The Whitman County Library is also creating and giving out STEM packs to K-6th grade students with their school lunches, Kirkpatrick said. When students come to get their free and reduced lunch, they’re sent home with a kit, she said.

“We’re trying to gather and offer what we can,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick said that the programs offered through the library have been successful in person. She is working to ensure that these new ways of learning are fun, entertaining and interactive.

Marking and Promotions Director Sarah Phelan is hosting a new program with the library during quarantine: a trivia night that occurs online. Every Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Phelan broadcasts through Facebook Live trivia consisting of five questions.

“The questions could be historical, about literature, science or pop culture,” Phelan said. “Viewers can use who they’re quarantined with to help them answer.”

The game is pretty straightforward. Phelan asks a question, repeats it, and waits 20 seconds to give viewers enough time to type it into the chat.

“We decided on 20 seconds because people who are on their phones might need those 2 extra seconds to pull up the keyboard,” Phelan said. “It limits the time to Google answers.”

Those who can’t tune in at 5:30 can still play, Phelan said. The video feed can be found on Whitman County Library’s page.

Phelan will host the weekly trivia nights until at least April 30, she said.

If trivia isn’t for you, Phelan also hosts a book club that meets biweekly on every second and fourth Monday of the month, she said.

“We try to alternate between ‘fluff’ and heavy stuff,” Phelan said. “We also read classics.”

The Whitman County Library book club is just over a year old, Phelan said. Beginning in March 2019, Phelan and the club have read “buzz books” as well as older novels, she said.

“In February we read ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris,” Phelan said. “For March, we read ‘Where the Heart Is’ by Billie Letts.”

Twice a year, each member will read a different book and do a book review, Phelan said.

“That’s a lot of fun, because we get to add books to our reading list,” she said.

If a new member wants to join, Phelan said the easiest way is to email her, and she will add new members to the group.

For more information about trivia night, the book club or any of the new online resources and programs, visit the Whitman County Library website at www.whitco.lib.wa.us.