In February 2020, just as BBFL was starting its spring semester of ESL classes, COVID-19 hit and led to government-imposed curfews and lockdowns. Our last lesson before temporary closure focused on hand-washing to stay safe during the pandemic. Just before BBFL had to close due to the coronavirus, we hosted high school students for a week-long volunteer project because their overseas school trips had been cancelled due to COVID. For details of their work at BBFL that week, please see the Volunteers section.
During BBFL's closure from mid-February to early June, the library still managed to launch two major community service projects:
1) An open-access food pantry to help neighbors struggling during the pandemic. A dedicated Pantry Support Team stocks the pantry with food generously donated by supporters, including donors from around the world reached through a fundraising campaign by teenager Joey Sta Romana. The pantry has served up to 100 people a day. A Pantry Delivery service also makes house calls, delivering bags of food and supplies to families who find it difficult to get to the pantry.
2) A Little Free Library book exchange box outside BBFL so passersby can "Take a book. Share a book", the motto of an international book exchange movement. BBFL's Little Free Library box, the first one in Nonthaburi province, is the Eagle Scout project of teenager Nolan Waters.
Throughout the COVID-19 closure, BBFL's Story Time volunteers Stephanie O'Neal and Tara Osterstock produced and posted videos to share lessons and crafts with their Story Time students. It is truly an international project. Even though some students and teachers had evacuated from Thailand due to the pandemic, the online Story Time videos help to connect them all, from Thailand to California to Texas. Until in-person Story Time classes can resume, the weekly online videos keep BBFL's Story Time program an active and vital part of BBFL's library services.
On June 2, 2020, BBFL was able to reopen under new safety guidelines: masks required, temperature taken, capacity limited, and social distancing observed. Story Time classes remain online. Group ESL lessons cannot resume due to social distancing requirements, so BBFL is now offering 1-on-1 English tutoring, with students coming by appointment.
In January 2021, a Covid spike in Thailand led to a 2nd closure. After the government later eased restrictions, BBFL made plans to reopen on Feb. 11.
The pandemic has thrown the world off balance, but BBFL is committed to providing our community with free library services and educational programs.
(updated February 2021)
Sign ins by hand or government Thai Chana app