In the era of coronavirus almost every business has been affected. But we forget sometimes about the other resources in our community. What about our libraries?
During and after disasters and big community events libraries are normally available and open, providing services from information, to shelter, entertainment, to food security. In this pandemic though they can’t be open. But that doesn’t mean they have given up serving us.
Many libraries across the country had already gone online in some way. Either they provided ebooks, audio books, and newspaper access on their websites. Now this forum is all they have so many are bumping up their presence.
While it may have been years since you have visited your local library in person you may miss them now. Here in the Coachella Valley our library system is run by the County of Riverside. We also have access to the Rancho Mirage Library and Conservatory.
What libraries provide us in normal times and how they are coping now:
Libraries provide us with books. Right now you can’t check out a physical book because the library is closed. But check your library’s website – there are many, many books available for e-readers or audio books. And if you don’t have a library card, don’t worry, you can get one online too.
Libraries provide us with supplemental education. If you check your library website you will be able to find activities and guidance for homeschooling and supplemental education for grades K-12.
Librarians steer you towards the right resource. With libraries closed it may be difficult to find the information you are looking for to support your argument for a paper or find out what years the Civil War was active, for instance, from reliable online resources. But guess what, you can use the library’s chat function to talk to a librarian who can still steer you to the right resource which you may even be able to check out as an e-book.
Libraries provide free activities. For school age children it can be every ten minutes that they are bored. They (and you) may miss the library activities where a zoologist would bring in a lizard to pet, or a puppeteer put on a show. Instead of YouTube you can send your kids to the library’s website for fun (and educational) games to try online as well as curated videos.
Libraries provide entertainment you would not see elsewhere. Maybe it’s our puppeteer from above or a flutist playing chamber music but libraries are always looking for unusual and mind expanding entertainments. While it may be some time before you can actually go to the library to see something interesting, the library system is stepping outside its comfort zone and entering the realm of online entertainment like this video from the Riverside County Library system posted on May the 4th (be with you!) about Star Wars. Some libraries are even continuing with their activities online like Cathedral City Library’s Triva and Mocktails weekly event for adults.
And if you happen to have a book checked out right now you’re forgiven! No late fees until libraries are reopen!