There's little the coronavirus has not changed. That includes the Washington Carnegie Public Library's summer reading opportunities for youth and adults.
Each year, adult services and outreach coordinator Rick Chambon spends countless hours planning the extravagant and well-attended adult summer reading program activities. This year was no exception. In fact, he had already announced the theme for this summer would be focused on Greece.
That all changed when COVID-19 restrictions came into play.
"We had some really great speakers and programs planned," said Chambon.
Rather than have patrons not be able to experience the programs as he had planned due to restrictions on the number of people who can gather, Chambon decided to switch gears and do a program he planned to do later.
"We've had a lot of people who have asked about doing a through the years program," said Chambon. "I had planned to do that the year I planned to retire but now just seemed like a good time."
Chambon said the adult summer reading program started a decade ago and enrollment in has grown every year. That means there are many participants who may not have been around for some of the programs.
"I think now is good time to offer a retrospective of some of the books and programs of the past decade," said Chambon, adding those signing up for the reading program, which should be done by calling the library at 812-254-4586 or emailing rickc@washingtonpubliclibraryorg, will notice a few other changes this year too. "Registration is required for all programs and we are limiting it to 20 people attending in person per session."
Chambon said many of the programs will be offered twice and several will also be available for viewing on the library YouTube Channel.
Subject to change on short notice, Chambon said the featured books will be "The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World" by Sue Woolmans and Greg King from the summer of 2016; "Julia Child: My Life in France" by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme from the summer of 2013; "Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald" by Therese Fowler also from the summer of 2013 and "The Rules of Civility" by Amor Towles from the summer of 2012.
The book by King and Woolmans, discusses the conflict that precipitated after Austrian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand married for love against the wishes of the emperor. Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were shunned but remained devoted to each other and their children. The couples assassination in Sarajevo led to a war, years of conflict and a life of struggles for their children.
"Z" is a historical fiction novel that explores the marriage of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and is told from the viewpoint of Zelda. "My Life in France," further discusses the life of French chef Julia Child and what inspired her passion for French cooking.
"Rules of Civility," is about a chance encounter that starts a yearlong journey for one woman from a Wall Street secretarial pool to the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of Conde Nast.
"Limited copies of each book will be available and some titles will be available as audiobooks and ebooks as well," said Chambon.
Chambon said the first program will be June 8 at 6:30 p.m. and will be a conversation with Sue Woolmans at the BBC. On June 16 also at 6:30 p.m., Chambon will present a program on Faberge eggs.
"This program will also be recorded and uploaded to the library's YouTube channel," he said, adding the same program will also be presented on June 22 at 2:30 in the afternoon and will feature a small treat from Chef Jeff Gumbel.
On June 18 at 2:30 p.m., an in-person book discussion on "Z" will be held. Participants can also take part in the conversation via Zoom.
June 25, also at 2:30 is reserved for a book discussion on "Julia Child: My Life in France." Once again, in-person and Zoom discussions will be offered.
A program on the Belmond British Pullman train will be offered on June 30 at 6:30 p.m.
"We will have this on our YouTube Channel as well," said Chambon. "And we will offer it again on July 6 at 6:30 p.m."
"The Rules of Civility" book discussion will take place again in-person or via Zoom on July 2. In-person and Zoom discussions will be offered on "The Assassination of the Archduke" at 2:30 p.m. on July 9.
A taste of Vienna will be presented in-person and on YouTube at 6:30 p.m. The same program will be presented again on July 20 at 2:30 p.m.
Presented on Zoom and in person will be In Conversation with Sue Woolmans live from London and Washington.
What will be missing this year is the extravagant afternoon tea.
"Due to social distancing, we will not be able to offer the traditional afternoon tea experience but we don't want people to completely miss out on that," said Chambon, who said a pre-plated selection of treats will be made available to participants who meet the requirements to enjoy at home.
The Youth Summer Reading Program is also still taking place.
Donita Mattingly said the theme for this year's program that is open to youth ages two to 12th grade is "Imagine Your Story."
"Registration for the youth summer reading starts June 1," said Mattingly adding those wanting to register can do so by calling the library.
Several programs are once again in the works but Mattingly said she is still in the process of confirming those.
"We have several fun and interactive programs planned for youth of all ages," said Mattingly.
For more information on the Washington Carnegie Public Library find the library on Facebook or visit www.washingtonpubliclibrary.org.