As I watched Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announce tonight's shelter in place order, I thought about what we have always known: The library is so much more than the buildings.
It's the people, the relationships, and the love of books and community that bring us together. We can still enjoy these things without the buildings and seeing each other in person.
Since last Monday when the governor closed places of public accommodation including libraries, we've been very busy working from home. In fact, some of us have been working harder at home than a regular day at the library as we learn new ways to stay connected and re-imagine ways to provide services to you.
The staff has generated dozens of ideas on how to maintain contact with our loyal guests. Some of these have already been implemented, others you will see in coming days and weeks.
The easiest way to use the library's resources is through our digital collection. If you haven't tried it yet, you're in for a treat. All digital services are free with your Willard Library card number. You'll also need your PIN, which is the last four numbers of your phone number. Services include:
- Hoopla offers ebooks, audiobooks, comics, music, TV shows, and movies. During March and April we have increased the number of downloads per guest to 10 per month. You'll find some newly released materials.
- Libby and Overdrive have hundreds of current, best-seller, and classic ebooks and audiobooks. For these two services, guests may have up to 10 items checked out at a time and up to 10 items on hold at once.
- RB Digital features dozens of current magazines including Oprah, HGTV, Taste of Home, Wired, and even Highlights magazine if you wish to share a bit of your childhood with your children.
- Freegal offers songs, albums and playlists. Guests can download five songs per week and stream up to five hours per day. Each new week begins on Monday.
In the Circulation Department, we have suspended all due dates, fines, and holds until we re-open. If you wish to return materials, please deposit them in the drop boxes at the libraries. In addition, we have taken steps to ensure that library cards will not expire.
For children, we are offering two story times a day Mondays through Fridays on Facebook Live at Willard's Facebook page.
At noon, Miss Alisha is reading "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" by Chris Grabenstein. It's a middle-grade chapter book with a lot of intrigue. And at 7 p.m., Bedtime Storytime With Willard features Miss Tynisha sharing some of her favorite chapter books.
Librarians developed a list with links about COVID-19 information and resources. This includes local and state health information, student meal access, educational websites, articles about coping in trying times, and some fun things such as zoo webcams and podcasts.
Please stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you back at the libraries when life returns to normal. Thank you for your patience as we navigate a changing world; we are grateful for your continued support!
Cathy is reading "The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership" by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel.