Coronavirus throws wrench in Flint Public Library works–but Director Schwartz “still positive”

Added today, March 27:  the Flint District Library Board April 2020 meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 2 has been cancelled, due to the Gov. Whitmer’s “sheltering in place” executive coronavirus order.

Just as the Flint Public Library (FPL)  had launched its much-heralded series of moves and beginnings of its $27.6 million upgrade, the coronavirus hit, meaning that the scheduled already planned temporary closures are being adjusted and construction work is delayed.

Here is FPL Director Kay Schwartz’s letter, sent to library patrons and donors today:

“Acknowledging the Irony but Still Positive!  

“Last month at this time, I was sending information about the temporary closure of Flint Public Library.  We were getting ready to pack up and move so that the Library could undergo a complete transformation.   We planned to be closed to the public until sometime in May.

“Our last day of regular service was February 29.  Our staff started packing on March 3.  And then you all know what happened to our world less than three weeks later, on March 23, when Governor Whitmer issued her executive order.  Then we became closed, period, instead of just closed to the public.

“I want to share just a few points with you about the Library and how we are responding to COVID-19.  But before any of that, I want to be very clear about one thing that has not changed:

We will proceed with our transformation!

“However, the timing is, by necessity, going to be adjusted a bit.

“So here are some things you should know.

  • Employment.  All of our staff are being paid during this mandated shut-down.  We have identified a short list of essential personnel who can enter the Library if needed.  The rest of our staff is working from home as they are able.
    We’re answering email and phone calls, reviewing potential additions to the collection, and doing “continuous education” types of learning.  We’re also keeping our website and social media up to date, offering new resources for patrons (our COVID-19 page being a great example!).
  • Packing.  We were making excellent progress until we had to shut down.  Friends of Flint Public Library has moved all of their used books out of the building.  Much of our shelving was dismantled and moved to our storage space prior to March 23. All packing is obviously on hold until the governor allows people to return to work.
  • Moving.  Here, too, we were making excellent progress.  Carpet was being laid at our temporary space in Courtland Center and things were on schedule for May.  This work, too, has come to a halt until at least April 13.
  • Renovation.  Clark Construction had been onsite already, starting their work on the exterior of the building.  Their work has stopped temporarily.

“So what does COVID-19 mean for our renovation project?  At this point in time, it is simply causing a delay.  Nothing has changed with our funding or our plans.  We just have to move the schedule out in proportion to how long this shutdown lasts.  We can’t estimate a time frame with any degree of confidence until the executive order has been lifted and we can get back to work.   The Library is just as important as ever for our patrons.  We have home schooling resources for parents, downloadable materials and many links for learning or entertainment.  And, just as with the water crisis, Flint Public Library is a trusted source of information about COVID-19.

“Our mission is to be Flint’s go-to place to learn for life.  That includes the times, like now, when life throws us a curve ball.  Thank you for continuing to support our mission and this community! ”

Kay Schwartz

Director of Library Services

–EVM Staff



Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

Share This Post On