The arts are buoying many during this time of physical isolation.
It’s part of the reason the Schenectady County Public Library, CREATE Community Studios and Kids Arts Festival have launched #schenectadystrong2020.
The initiative’s goal is to provide a space for the community to share creative works, whether it’s poetry, paintings, drawings, prose, etc., along with inspirational messages.
“What joys, fears, challenges, and discoveries have community members encountered and what are people most grateful for and what do they miss the most?
During these times when we are staying apart, this is one way we can keep connected,” said CREATE’s Heather Hutchison.
#schenectadystrong2020, which is slated to launch today on Facebook, invites local residents to submit photos of themselves or their families creating something or sharing something inspirational. People can also submit videos of themselves expressing joy or frustration, or thanking the many essential workers that are keeping others safe.
The photos and videos can be submitted to the Facebook group #schenectadystrong2020 Art Project or emailed to [email protected] or mailed to Schenectady County Public Library, ATTN: #schenectadystrong2020, 99 Clinton St. Schenectady, NY 12305.
Several organizations across the Capital Region have relied on Facebook to stay connected to their communities. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center recently began Sparked by Beauty, a group dedicated to sharing everything from photography to poetry to interviews with artists.
This week, the Schenectady County Public Library will shift its usual storytime sessions online, posting videos to YouTube. Shortly, it’s also planning to feature virtual Lego building, as well as teen programs and STEAM activities. Families can join the SCPL Youth & Families Facebook group to learn more.
This week is National Library Week, and while most of the staff of the SCPL are currently working at the county’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Coalition Call Center, they’re still finding ways to celebrate and serve library patrons.
“This year’s theme was modified in response to the global pandemic, to ‘Find the Library at your Place’ to bring attention to how our libraries are open for business online, offering the electronic services and digital content our community needs now more than ever,” said Karen Bradley, the library director.
The library’s digital collections featured on Overdrive and Hoopla, have both increased in circulation. According to Bradley, the library has seen a 226% increase in new users and a 162% increase in circulation for March 2020 compared to March 2019.
“While the library’s physical spaces may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the public can discover eBooks, movies, music, YouTube storytimes and more — all from home by visiting scpl.org. In times of crisis, libraries respond to their community’s needs in innovative and inspiring ways, but what we are experiencing as a nation is unprecedented,” Bradley said.