Access Denied: When Your Safe Place Is Off-Limits

If you can’t come to the library, it will come to you

Sandi Parsons
3 min readFeb 9, 2022

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A hedgehog statue reading under a tree
Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

“Lunchtime in the library is canceled. Effective immediately.” It was seconds before the morning siren, and the Deputy Principal whisked in and out with the unwelcome news that Western Australia had morphed into a “High Caseload Environment (Level 1).”

Omicron is spreading its feelers into my state. While the rest of the world has learned to live with COVID, life in Western Australia remained the same. Cut off from the world, we’ve lived in a COVID-free bubble. But our fortress is not impenetrable. This year we’ve moved from a “keep the virus out” strategy to one that will suppress and contain instead. Overnight, 65 cases of COVID were recorded, sparking the upgraded alert status.

The simple solution would have been to shut my doors at lunchtime. Reduce my workload. But that’s not how I do things.

The library is a haven for the unwanted, the misfits, the book lovers who don’t want to run around the oval endlessly, and those that need a place to recharge before returning to a bustling classroom. If there was no library, where would my kidlets go? Where could they find a safe place?

I know firsthand the power of books. Ten-year-old Sandi was a misfit who lived in books…

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Sandi Parsons

Sandi Parsons lives & breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller📚 Kidlit specialist, dipping her toes in the big kid’s pool.