Curb Your Enthusiasm


Curb Your Enthusiasm


I wrote this for the Thompson Free Library July 2020 Quarterly Newsletter that my colleague Tom Lyford and I create. TFL's phased reopening began with curbside service.






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June 3, the Tuesday we started Curbside Service at TFL had that first day back to school in the fall feel. Or the first day at a new job. Because that’s what it was really. After two and half months of working at home, it was both comforting and strange to be back.

Figuring out how to work together and stay apart, what mask worked best—when it was ok to pull it down or remove it, when to wear gloves, learning all the new protocols and procedures.

We sort of nervously danced around one another as we got used to each other again in this very different world, but Greta had a plan in place, she showed us what to do, we asked questions, made mistakes, tweaked things, and kept going.

Turning the key to the book drop and finding a gazillion books inside—wow, the word had spread to start returning materials. We were off and running.

More patrons were placing holds through the catalog, a positive sign, while many called and asked us to check if we had a book (or books) they wanted or for recommendations on what to read next.

The process fell into place: pulling the holds list, collecting the items, calling patrons to tell them books were waiting for them, checking the books out, and placing them on the table. Before long we expanded our pickup hours to Tuesday-Friday 9-5.

The awkwardness and trepidation faded quickly once we saw so many smiles (or smiling eyes above masks) on familiar faces as we approached cars, carrying shopping bags filled with books—placing them in trunks and back seats.

They were glad to see us and even happier that they could hold actual books in their hands. And seeing that “New” sticker on the cover seemed to give them a much needed and appreciated boost.

Once again, we found ourselves surrounded by books, not just on shelves, spread out on tables too. The returns in quarantine, piled high on the table formerly reserved for puzzles. Our impressive antique display table turned into PPE central with masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies. Another table in front of it covered with pick-up orders—handwritten white slips in each.

Soon, the phone rang again. “I’m out in the parking lot,” said a friendly voice.

“Ok, I’ll be right out!” turned out to be slightly wishful thinking on my part as I struggled to put on rubber gloves in a speedy fashion. But Tom was at the ready, gloves on, books in the bag, walking out the door. Happily chatting with patrons, who like us, longed for a brief taste of the past in this uncertain new time.



Brawn, Kim, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Heart of Maine Community Stories, accessed February 26, 2024,

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