[Courtesy image]


What: Moab’s Year of Pandemic Living: A Digital Scrapbook

Where: www.grandcountyutah.net/1124/Digital-Scrapbook-Project

Cost: Free

In April, Jessie Magleby, head of adult services at Grand County Public Library, invited Moab community members to submit journal entries, photographs, art, poems or other memorabilia in digital form to an online scrapbook to document how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted local life.

“It was something I just thought up this winter by myself—I had no idea how it would turn out,” said Magleby of the concept. Throughout the month of April, the library received enough submissions to create over 50 pages of photos, poems, personal reflections and more.

“I’m extremely pleased with the community’s response,” Magleby said.

Teen Librarian Christina Williams helped with the digital design, formatting the submissions to look like additions to a spiral bound scrapbook. As the viewer clicks, it’s like “turning the pages” of the digital book.

The finished book can now be viewed on the county website at www.grandcountyutah.net/1124/Digital-Scrapbook-Project.

“Christina really made it look good,” said Magleby.

The book opens with a short introduction reminding the reader of ways the pandemic has changed our lives.

“It’s been over a year since schools and businesses in Grand County closed down and things started to get weird,” it reads.

Entries include imaginative paintings inspired by the coronavirus, photographs of “closed” signs and markers for keeping 6 feet of distance from others, and images of Moab Regional Hospital’s temporary respiratory evaluation center. Pictures of empty shelves at City Market are a reminder of the extreme uncertainty of the spring of 2020.

Many entries reflect hobbies Moab residents took up during their time away from work and community. Bountiful gardens, artwork, puzzles and models helped people pass the hours.

A lot of entries show Grand County kids and teens as they returned to activities later in the year, wearing masks but clearly smiling underneath them. Several young children also wrote thank-you letters to the library for its curbside service. Magleby said she especially loved those.

“It’s one of the most cheerful things in the world, kid art and kid writing,” she said.

People who submitted materials were entered into a drawing for three prizes, one for each of three age groups. Winners picked up “really deluxe kits” of art and journaling supplies.

Community members who have looked through the scrapbook, which was posted on May 1, have had positive responses.

“I’ve had a few email responses from people who said they found it very touching,” said Magleby, adding, “One woman said it made her emotional.”

Malgeby said the book will stay posted indefinitely.

“I’d like to thank the Moab community for sharing their perspective and what they’ve been doing. I think this will be a treasure that we’ll look back on for years and years,” said Magleby.

The library will continue to offer curbside pick-up Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. People can make 30-minute reservations to use library computers from Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Masks are required to enter the library.