Right around the time coronavirus closed local schools, suddenly throwing parents into a home-schooling situation, the libraries were closed, too. So, parents couldn’t pick up books and other materials for their kids. Grocery workers and bus drivers (and others!) can stay at their posts, but librarians don’t provide an essential service? And also, consider all the rest of us who depend on libraries in normal times.

How about limiting the number of people inside a library at a time in order to maintain social distancing? If not that, how about curbside pickup? The main thing would be to sanitize books as they are requested, sent to the right branches and shelved for pickup. Presumably, they’d be cleaned again before borrowers came to fetch them at the curbside. Naturally, the librarians’ hands would be clean, and they would wear gloves.

Not all bound books have e-book equivalents — and not all of us have e-readers or access to computers. Let us use our libraries again! Keeping them closed is driving some of us nuts.

Phil Freshman, St. Louis Park

VIRUS IN THE NAVY

His voyage closed and done

I was appalled to hear the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Brett Crozier, was relieved of his command for taking action to protect the crew members serving under him (“Navy fires captain who sought help for virus-stricken ship,” StarTribune.com, April 3). It seems to be the action of a Trump toady, who is not even confirmed in his position as Navy secretary, in retribution for disregarding President Donald Trump’s dismissive treatment of the problem.

My father was a World War II veteran, and I recall his stories of command officers who took risks to protect the lives of the men serving under them. I am encouraged to see there are still such men serving in our military.

John Geddes, Minneapolis

COMPENSATION

Pay workers for their risky service

Doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and some police and firemen in this time of COVID-19 are putting their lives in danger just as much as soldiers. I propose that some form of hazardous-duty pay be given to them in the next federal bill dealing with this crisis. It should be made retroactive and details worked out.

This could be modeled on practices of the U.S. military. When I was in Vietnam in the U.S. Army, we all received an additional hazardous-duty pay on top of our regular pay.

In recent days, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that soldiers with COVID-19 or suspected of it will receive up to $100 a day for helping with lodging costs if they cannot get home. It’s called “Hardship Duty Pay-Restriction of Movement” pay.

Paul D. Stolen, Fosston, Minn.

WEDDINGS

Let couples marry online

Young couples starting families at this moment in history have a right to be nervous, even as they try to stay calm and positive for the sake of their future babies. Many couples, including my daughter and her future husband, planned to be married, but the state closed offices, and now they cannot get a marriage license that would allow them to hold a virtual wedding before their baby is due.

So far the state has refused to allow marriage licenses to be obtained online. My daughter and her fiancé are amazingly strong, and they are doing their share for the COVID-19 crisis, albeit working at home. Like all of us, they are scared, and they would like to be legally married before the baby comes, to have that slip of paper that somehow, should there be problems during the birth, guarantees them the rights of marriage. When my daughter wrote her local representative, he responded that those in charge of the system are reluctant to change the rules unless it’s life-or-death. Right now, life-or-death is real for all of us. My daughter is considered a high-risk pregnancy, given her age and asthma. This is their first child. No one knows what the state of hospitals will be this summer.

I would ask those in charge to allow online marriage licenses to be approved.

They have moved businesses, health care, education, food distribution and voting to online formats. How hard would it be to stamp marriage licenses during this time? If they get a license, couples can then marry virtually. But without the license, the ritual itself holds no legal weight. And in this time of pandemic, that matters.

Please let the bureaucracy bend to allow for a little joy and a little security in this insecure time. Open up marriage licenses to an online format.

Carol Dines, Minneapolis

STATES

Desperate times, disparate measures

I wonder if dozens of different state strategies helped us get through the Great Depression. I wonder if dozens of different state strategies helped us get through World War II. I wonder if, when resources needed to be mobilized, different states were put in a position to bid against each other for crucial resources.

Not likely. And yet, who is in charge now but those representing a party that has, since Ronald Reagan, run against the efficiency and functionality of a federal government — a party that has, administration after administration, guaranteed the inefficiency or incompetence of government by putting in positions of power people who didn’t know what they were doing or were not committed to the mission of the agency they were in charge of in the first place. It’s a comedy and a tragedy, and now people are dying because of it. The chickens have come home to roost, America.

Richard Robbins, Mankato, Minn.

STAY-HOME ORDER

Freedom to move vs. freedom to live

Regarding the response to the stay-at-home order, a recent letter writer took exception, saying that Gov. Tim Walz had directed harm to the letter writer’s “liberty.” She fails to understand that her liberty to do as she pleases is a selfish, irresponsible action during these times when it is so critical for all citizens in this state to do “whatever the doctor recommends” to protect all of us.

For decades some have been inconvenienced because they cannot continue to smoke in public settings because the majority of us don’t want to die of lung cancer. More recently, some were inconvenienced when they were restricted from texting while driving because the majority of us did not want to be killed by a distracted driver.

Now together, we are all reeling from losses in many different ways. But I’m certain none of us want to be that irresponsible person who advanced the spreading of this deadly virus, simply because of a selfish concern that their liberty from being inconvenienced might be affected.

Kim Larson, Willmar, Minn.

• • •

The governors who have not issued stay-at-home edicts should remember that some of their constituents will end up in permanent “stay at home” status — albeit a funeral home — and not be able to vote for them in the next election.

Tom Oakes, Eden Prairie

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