A message to our community from Saint Paul Public Library Director Catherine Penkert and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm:
We are slowly beginning to exhale on what has been an unprecedented year in Saint Paul and beyond. Globally and locally, people have been challenged by uncertainties around education, employment, and the economy. Racial and social inequities that have persisted throughout society for centuries have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and killing of George Floyd. Many of the public services our community counts on have been altered, suspended and reimagined. Yet through the challenges, 2020 has helped reinforce the importance of human connection, compassion and community.
We are incredibly proud of the way our teams have demonstrated that no matter the test, they will be here to serve. From providing childcare, sewing masks, offering modified and virtual programming, and opening a Career Lab in our libraries to help those searching for jobs, to providing translation services for residents, facilitating emergency shelters in our buildings, providing access to computers and information, and just recently, serving the millionth meal through our family meals program, our staff have proven what we already knew to be true, that they are essential workers performing essential work.
Our teams have deeply missed the joy of laughing children and the energy of neighbors gathering within our shared public spaces. Their temporary absence has created a heightened meaning of the message that is prominently and proudly displayed on our recreation center and library walls—"we belong together."
As we enter 2021, community members can feel confident that we will continue to provide critical programs and services for the residents of Saint Paul, with a strong focus on racial and social equity. We are eager to continue expanding offerings as it is safe to do so. At the end of this historic year, we’re more committed than ever to our values: a city that works for all, where all feel safe, welcome, and included. We hope your 2021 includes time with us in parks and recreation and libraries. Happy new year.