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Dedicated PJ Free Library Fiber Arts group meets outside

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Port Jervis Free Library is, has always been, and hopefully will always be a hub for the entire community. The library offers opportunities to meet with others in small groups, attend fascinating presentations, research, use computers, and read or check out books, movies, magazines, and more, even within pandemic safety guidelines.

Recently, the attached photo was captured of the library’s Fiber Arts group has been meeting on warm days in nearby Orange Square/Veterans Park. The group meets weekly on Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon, and has been meeting weekly at the library for the past four or five years.

As relayed by Beverly Arlequeeuw, Library Director, there is a loyal group of 6 to 10 ladies that come every week. Even during the pandemic, when they had to meet outside the building because the library had not been hosting in-house programs, they continued to meet.

The Fiber Arts group was started by library staff members Birdie Kroger and Caitlin Treuting. They and Barb Leimer and Barb Cassidy came together as a result of speaking to patrons and finding that there was a need and desire for such a group. They became a cohesive group right away, sharing their love for fiber arts -- which includes knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, sewing, quilting, macrame, weaving, felting, embroidery, rug-making, basket weaving and more.

Each person in the Fiber Arts group brings their individual interests and talents. They share their work, and instruct each other. As an example of their dedication to the group and its members, Birdie once learned how to crochet left-handed just so that she could instruct a participant that was left-handed.

"That is definitely dedication, which exists in this Port Jervis Free Library fiber crafter group!" said Arlequeeuw.

Regarding the library’s COVID 19 Adaptations:

As per information supplied for this story, during the pandemic it was necessary to try to maintain some of the library programs. This group was able to continue to meet by setting up outside canopies, tables and chairs in the back library parking lot. This facilitated allowing the library to offer some additional limited in-person programs. Most of the programs offered, however, are still being held virtually, through Zoom.

As good and popular as the virtual programs are, the staff and group members shared that they still feel patrons are missing the personal pre-pandemic interaction they are accustomed to receiving from library staff and presenters. Thus, the Fiber Arts group will continue having in-person programs outside as long as the weather permits, and as long as deemed necessary for the safety of library patrons and staff.

They, like others, will be happy for the day when they are finally able to resume hosting library programs in-doors, which is hoped will be in the near future. This will be determined by conversations between the director and library board.

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