Library adapts activities, services to COVID-19 world

Cinthia Stimson photo

Instructor and jewelry designer Stephanie Mekelburg (left) greets several students in the wire wrapping/jewelry making class online on Zoom June 29. The Queen’s Jewels class included materials: fine gauge wire, stone and gems. The Glenrock Library sponsors various adult activities, including the jewelry class, many of which are online on other platforms or in person, outdoors. Classes observe social distancing requirements either way and still get to feel like they’re socializing to a certain extent.

Cinthia Stimson,

Rich, beautifully colored gemstones lay on the work table. The afternoon sunlight streamed through the window onto the surface, where needle-nose pliers, strands of delicate, silver wire and accoutrements lay waiting to be turned into works of wearable art.


Nearly a dozen students, mostly adults, gathered in front of their laptops, their smiling faces lined up on the screens like celebrities in a Hollywood Squares game.


Under usual circumstances, the students would be sitting side-by-side in the Glenrock Library makerspace, socializing during their adult activities classes, the air full of their laughter.


But, these are unusual times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are facing  challenges of social distancing, including holding group activities and classes – minus the group setting.


Adult Program Coordinator Tamara Lehner loves organizing and holding adult activity classes at the Glenrock library, although she’s finding it a bit more challenging these days to schedule virtual classes via Zoom meetings. She’s pulling them off, nonetheless.


Still, scheduling events, organizing the participants, sending out invitations, running craft supplies from outside of Glenrock and into Douglas so everyone’s prepared ahead of time come the start of the class takes an inordinate amount of work.


“They’re a bit challenging. Sometimes we face technical difficulties trying to get everyone into the meetings, but we’re managing and making it happen,” she said, as she waited for participants to log into the Queen’s Jewels wire wrapping class Tuesday night.


Glenrock Library Branch Manager Jennifer Kofoed agrees they’ve had to be creative in continuing the library’s programs with so many restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID.


“The library has had to rethink how we offer programming. Normally we’re able to meet in person for events for all ages, including storytime and DIY crafts for children, our Teen Advisory groups with plans for parties, cooking classes and crafts, and adult programs with crafts, concerts, cookbook club, and presentations. During this time of social distancing, many of these programs have been modified to be online, through Facebook Live, Youtube video, TikTok and Zoom,” she said.


During the library’s 10-week closure, library staff continued to provide programming online every day.


“This was a great way to connect with our patrons. We loved having their support.”


The libraries hold a multitude of classes for all ages, including moonlit hikes, stargazing on top of a mountain, adult painting classes, children’s crafts and storytimes, fairy garden workshops, and more. Younger or older, the activities are engaging, generally free – and especially now – allow folks to feel they’re connecting socially, even in online platforms and in the privacy of their own homes.


On the night of the wire wrapping class, instructor and jewelry designer Stephanie Mekelburg greets everyone in the Zoom class and gives a little background on herself. She’s a yoga instructor by day in Ft. Collins, Colorado; she teaches jewelry making classes via Zoom when she’s not teaching people the amazing benefits of Svanasana (corpse pose), Vrikshasana (tree pose) or Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog).


She tells her class of Glenrock and Douglas students each particular stone may have positive therapeutic benefits.


One cabochon is red jasper, known for increasing emotional stamina, self confidence, self-trust, emotional protection, courage, balance, calming and relaxation, she explains.


“I chose gemstones for everyone based on what’s going on right now, you know, ‘he who will not be named,’” she said, referring to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “I wanted to choose the ones I thought could help us the most right now.”


Her fingers deftly twist strands of silver wire around her own jewel as she explains via the webcast how to make a harness for the cabochon out of the thin, silver wire. One-by-one, her students follow her instructions until their pieces are completed – gorgeous precious stone pendants varying in colors, wrapped in wire, complete with intricate curlicues and tiny embellishments.


“Now that our libraries are open to the public we’re continuing to modify our programming to include social distancing. When possible we’re starting to hold some programming in-person by social distancing or meeting outside. We want to be physically distanced to avoid exposure to COVID, but we don’t want to truly be socially distanced. We hope to provide a way for individuals to connect within our communities and have access to quality programming, even if it’s a modified format for now,” Kofoed said.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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