Sign up for an Edgartown Library ‘book box’ 

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The Edgartown library is testing out a new "Book Box" program. — courtesy Edgartown Public Librar

The Edgartown Public Library is now offering a monthly “book box” sign-up subscription program for children 8 years and up. Each month, Edgartown children with library cards can use a Google form to sign up to receive goodies from the library. These include two library materials, and other free items to keep, such as colored pencils, gel pens, snacks, and more supplied by the Friends of the Edgartown Library. January is the “pilot month” for the program. 

Edgartown library children’s librarian Elyce Retmier created this program. “Obviously with COVID, we had to think outside the box, and put a spin on some of the services that we’ve been providing forever and ever,” she said. 

Retmier implemented different programs to accommodate the COVID environment, such as “takeout windows” to give children craft bags to-go, and deliveries as the “librarian on the go.”

“We’ve just kept doing things on a to-go basis, tring to keep the kids engaged with the library even though they could not come into the library,” Retmier said. 

The “book box” program was a result of her brainstorming ways to continue programs when the library had to “pump the brakes” on indoor programming. 

Retmier said she decided on 8 years or older as the target demographic because this is the age when children can stay at the library on their own. Additionally, she didn’t want the program to feel “too childish” to get teens to participate in it. The first batch of five children who signed up for a subscription box were 11- to 13-year-olds. 

“The teens are hard to pull in, so I’m excited,” Retmier said.

The sign-up form allows children and teens to tell the librarians their interests. Retmier said she will be able to match the interests of the participants with the boxes, especially with children who are a part of her afterschool program. “I have a really good mental database for the kids I see,” she said. “At times I feel like I’m more than just a librarian. I really dive deep into what these kids are interested in, and try to connect with them on a personal level, so I think they’re going to be really excited when they see the box.”

Retmier thinks the sign-ups should be limited to around 15 participants, although this will depend on interest and how the program evolves. Retmier also said the summer months, which brings in many more people, would be too hectic for the program. 

To sign up for the program in February, visit bit.ly/3FHdpFL. To learn more about the program, contact Retmier at childrens@edgartownlibrary.org