May Newsletter

This month: what’s going on with the bookdrop? Plus lots of online programs!

May 1, 2020

Business As Unusual

I, as I’m sure many of you too, am surprised that we are entering the seventh week of the Berlin Peck Library’s “quarantine” of the public. Some days it feels like it started yesterday and some days it feel like an eternity ago.

I know many of you miss the staff and the in-house services the Library provides from the questions I hear: When are you reopening? What should I do with my overdue books? How do I renew by library card? I hope by now you have the answers to these and many more questions from checking our new website and by emailing/calling library staff who are available to you Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

But our reopening plan continues to be a work in progress. Decisions need to be made in conjunction with other agencies and state government. We are beginning by reopening our bookdrop from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm on Mondays and Thursdays starting May 11. Following CDC guidelines, we need to allow disinfected materials ample time for the virus to die before they are discharged, sorted and shelved. Thousands of items are in Berlin homes right now and we would like to gradually get them back on our shelves.

However, keeping my staff safe, as well as protecting Berlin from further spread of COVID-19, is my top priority. There will be many things to consider while figuring out the Library’s “new normal.” Do we limit hours? Limit people in the building? Would curbside delivery keep clusters of people from gathering inside? Should we have early “senior hours?” How do we space out furniture and computer stations to maintain social distancing? These and many more are being considered in our reopening conversations.

In the meantime, thank you for appreciating our new online databases and services, website and our new Quaranzine. I ask for your patience moving forward as we try to strike a delicate balance between the free and open spaces we idealize and the social distancing practices we must enforce. I know my staff and I can still uphold the Library’s core values of lifelong learning, equitable information access, and strength in community, as we get back to business as unusual.
Wishing you continued good health,

Helen Malinka
Library Director

Returning Books and Other Items

Due dates on all materials have been extended (again) until June 5. Starting May 11, we will open the book drop on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. This is to make sure staff has time to handle book returns safely!


Contact Us

You can still reach a librarian Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If a librarian is busy on another call, please leave a message, and we will get back to you.

For more updates, like Berlin-Peck Library or Berlin-Peck Children’s Department on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!



The Library is accepting submissions for Quaranzine: Sharing Our Stories, a weekly collection of creative works that share and document how our community is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out Issue No. 2 or submit your own work!


Online Programs

How to Spot Fake News Online

Monday, May 4 at 2:00 pm

Everyone’s heard the term “Fake News,” but what exactly is it? What forms does it take? How can you know if what you’re seeing is real or fake? Is it really something you should worry about? Learn how to identify misinformation, verify whether the news you’re seeing is really true, and what to do afterwards. This program will be interactive and is suitable for both adults and students, ages 12+.


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Meditation and Mindfulness Online

Tuesdays, May 5 and 19 at 6:30 pm

Discover techniques for mindfulness and meditation to help instill more calmness in your life. Presented by local yoga instructor Liz Hal. The second class will build on what we’ve learned in the first class. You are welcome to attend one or both!

Register for May 5 Register for May 19

Sit & Knit Online

Thursday, May 7 at 2:00 pm

Join us online for a relaxing session of knitting and talking.


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10 Minutes to Save the Earth Online

Monday, May 11 at 6:30 pm

This program introduces the idea of “think global, act local” when it comes to protecting our planet. Learn about the impacts we’re seeing right here in Connecticut, as well as simple ways to manage our natural resources responsibly, improve the atmosphere, and secure a future for ourselves and our children.


Podcast Discussion Group Online

Wednesday, May 13 at 7:00 pm

Join us to discuss podcasts! Open to everyone, from podcast fans to complete newbies.


Saturday Book Club Online

Saturday, May 16 at 10:30 am

Join us online for a discussion of The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. Berlin residents, use your library card to download the ebook or audiobook from hoopla!

We’ll discuss in a live video chat, followed by a discussion questions on our Facebook Group. Both are optional! Register online to receive an invitation to Saturday’s video chat.


Cookbook Club Online

Monday, May 18 at 6:30 pm

Our May cookbook is Endless Summer Cookbook by Katie Lee. Pick a recipe and join us to discuss it. Berlin residents can download the ebook from hoopla, free with their library card!


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Connecticut Wine Trail Online

Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30 pm

Join Michelle Griffis, writer for the CT Wine Trail, for tips on visiting the wineries on the trail, info about the passport program, and an update on how wineries are coping during the pandemic.


Books and Coffee Online

Wednesday, May 27 at 2:00 pm

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us for an informal book talk. Share reading recommendations, learn about some of the most anticipated upcoming releases and visit with some friendly faces. Register online, and we’ll send you an invite to the video chat!



Online Children’s Programs

Although the library is currently closed due to COVID-19, the Children’s Department staff is still working to support you!

Visit our Library Fun @ Home Page for links to free read-alouds, activities, videos, learning resources, and, for a limited time, access to TumbleBook Library, Tumble Math, Teen BookCloud, Audio BookCloud books & audiobooks, Scholastic Bookflix, and many more!

Stay tuned for announcements on our Events Page and the Children’s Department Facebook page for fun virtual programs just for kids and families!

Pet Reading Photo Contest!

Submissions accepted May 1-22

Send us a photo of your pet(s) reading a book, magazine, ebook, etc. for a chance to win an as-yet-to-be-determined but very cool prize when the library reopens!

Submit photos via Facebook Messenger to our Children’s Facebook Page or email them to Submissions accepted between May 1 and May 22. Please include the name of your pet in your submission! All submissions will be featured on our Children’s Facebook page.

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Online Storytimes Online

Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays at 10:30 am

Join us on the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library Children’s Department Facebook Page for Online Storytimes! If you can’t make the 10:30 AM “Premieres,” the storytimes will be available to watch for at least 12 hours after showing. They may also be available on our YouTube Channel, depending upon the guidelines of the publishers of the books we read. We hope you’ll read, sing, and dance along with us!

Nutmeg Book Club Online

Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30 pm
Join us this month as we read and discuss Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Our meeting will be held virtually. For more information about how to get your copy of the text and to register, please contact Miss Annie at Happy Reading! ?

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
It’s a great time to read at home with your child! 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is an ongoing library program that encourages all families and caregivers to read at least 1,000 books (any book) to their infant, toddler and/or preschooler before entering kindergarten. You can download the first log from our 1,000 BBK page to get started, and there is no need to register. When the library opens, bring in your logs to earn your rewards!

Learn More


Online Teen Programs

Nutmeg Book Club Online

Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30 pm
Join us this month as we read and discuss Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Our meeting will be held virtually. For more information about how to get your copy of the text and to register, please contact Miss Annie at Happy Reading! ?


COVID-19 Support Resources

During these challenging times, the Library is here to help you find the resources you need. We’ve collected a selection of links to help our patrons find important information and help.

Explore these categories to find tips for economic resources, health and wellness services, housing information, and more.

And as always, your librarians are here for you. Send your questions to or call 860-828-7125.
News & Support Things to Do at Home

Face Coverings

Following recommendation from the CDC for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Governor signed an executive order directing face coverings to be worn by anyone in public wherever a six-foot distance is unavoidable, including by employees while in the workplace.

Check out this CDC video on how to make an easy no-sew face covering.


From the CT Department of Labor: If you become unemployed due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should file for unemployment benefits. Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis. We are processing claims as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience during this difficult time.

File For Unemployment
The quickest way to file, manage, or learn more about unemployment claims.

Housing & Food Security

Connecticut 211
Community services for food, mental health, healthcare, housing and shelter, transportation, income, and utility assistance.

Mobile Pantry Schedule and Food Pantry Locator
Provided by the Connecticut Food Bank

Homeowners and Renters
Updates and information taken by state and federal government to help protect homeowners and renters impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Questions? Call 860-828-7125 or email