With our recent redesign, the NABUR team invited Community Specialists to help foster dialogue from neighbors most knowledgeable on the subjects. Specialists share news, answer questions and offer their take on community happenings. To see who is a Community Specialist, search for a silver badge near their profile name!

Today, I talked with Michelle McNiel, the pubic relations spokesperson for NCW Libraries and a Community Specialist for the NCW Libraries group. To learn more about our local libraries, we chatted about extended library hours, Women's History Month and current reads.

Photo courtesy of Michelle McNiel

Wenatchee World: How has the library been handling the pandemic?

Michelle McNiel: Quarantine has been interesting. We shut down for a while, then we did curbside and now we are open again at all our branches. To be open and more available for people at times when it's convenient for them, we've added evening hours at all our 30 libraries and weekend hours. The mail order started before COVID, it's been really popular during COVID.

WW: What would you want NABUR members to know about the libraries?

MM: I think generally people think that libraries are a place where you can go check out books and movies, but even during COVID there are so many other different things that people can do right now. First of all, we have not only free WiFi in our building but for 600 feet around our building. We also have wireless hotspots, several of them, that you can check out and take with you. We've got Discover Passes, nature backpacks that you can check out with them and really nice telescopes. There are just so many different things. The library is so much more than books right now.

WW: I saw your previous post in the NCW Libraries page, which was a link to a reading challenge for Women's History Month. Could you speak more on that?

MM: We have been trying pretty regularly to have reading challenges, so last month was Black History Month, this month is Women's History Month. What we do for these reading challenges, and you can sign up for them on our website, is compile a list of reading options in various formats that stretches what you normally read.

MM: For Women's History Month, we have a variety of books that are written by women or for women and so I encourage that if people want to read outside their normal genre or expand their knowledge, they can sign up for these reading challenges. We have a lot of really knowledgeable library staff that can find some books, and they are all books that are in our collection.

WW: Do you have a book you are currently flipping through?

MM: It's called 'Between Two Kingdoms' and it's about a woman, actually an immigrant from Tunisia, she's a college student in her senior year and she gets leukemia. She ended up writing a series of articles for the New York Times during that time and when she got into remission after five years, she travelled around the country to meet people who sent her messages of encouragement during her treatment.

What's coming up at the NCW Libraries? Join the NCW Libraries group on NABUR and find a list of free, virtual events hosted by the libraries.