The best options are in our own backyard

Published 5:59 pm Friday, June 12, 2020

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To the Editor:

In this COVID-Spring and its norm-resetting pandemic, many things are changing, supposedly evolving for us all into a “new normal.”

While we are all discovering new ways to do things, in masks or from a safe social distance, I find that I am also reminded of lessons I learned long ago. Growing up, I learned always to shop local first, especially because of living in a small town, and we always checked to see where something was made before deciding to buy or not.

Over the years, the emergence and convenience of the internet have shifted many of us to online shopping, and we often seek what we want from outside our area. However, I have had reminders through this pandemic that we are fortunate to have what we do, and we owe them our support to make sure they continue to thrive and can continue to provide for us after we are past this pandemic and charting our way through the finally fully-reopened North Carolina.

There are many reasons to be very pleased with our local options, and I have especially seen this as I have become Director of Albemarle Regional Library (doing so during the earliest rounds of closings). While the library itself is seen by many as quite traditional, I was very happy to see many of our patrons move to use electronic/online resources while the branches were closed. During this time I could also count on traditional media, local radio and our newspaper, both to provide information to me and to help me share my information to the community. They combine with social media (rather than being replaced by it) to keep us informed. We are fortunate while sheltering in rural isolation to stay connected.

I also discovered another local merchant who came through for our branches and, in turn, for all library patrons. Knowing that we had to make our branches safe, we worked while closed to get supplies of PPE and hand sanitizer, as well as disinfectant UV lights.

To insure further protection for both staff and patrons, I sought shielding for each circulation desk. My normal “go to,” an internet search for options, found we would have to delay reopening branches and pay exorbitant costs not only for purchase but for shipping and even assembly. However, Northeastern Glass sits right in Ahoskie. They jumped into action, providing us with shielding in all seven branches, even helping measure and install hanging shields in one location, and did everything with a quick and friendly manner that was both professional and efficient.

Their good work and customer service are strong reminders for me to break my old habits and return to my original lessons. We can and should look into our own backyards first. Northeastern Glass deserves business, local and beyond. Their work aids and supports all of this region.

There is a power in local thinking, and they helped me to remember that sometimes the best options are the local ones.

Hugh H. Davis

Director, Albemarle Regional Library