The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system may have closed its buildings to the public, but there are plenty of ways patrons can access its resources during this crisis, said Ginny Reese, manager of the Greene County Library branch.
“The newest thing is we’re asking patrons not to return books at all now,” Reese said. “It’s to protect library staff and there’s also no way to move books to the other branches so they’ve been piling up. It’s better if people just keep them at home right now.”
Reese said the process is books taken out of the book drop must be left for three days before touched by library staff and checked in. So, Reese noted, there would be no late fees during this period and if a book is due during the closure they are all being extended to May 8 and they can keep being extended as long as we need them to.”
Additionally, people cannot place holds on items any more. If there was already a hold, she said, that item is at the library and will remain there for a couple weeks after the opening to allow people time to pick them up.
“I think people were hoping we’d be open by now, but we can’t,” Reese said. “We are consulting with the health department and trying to follow the orders of Gov. Ralph Northam, but the situation is very fluid; every time we decide how we’re going to do something it changes, sometimes within less than 24 hours.”
People can renew expired library cards by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and for those who do not have a library card, temporary ones are available online at jmrl.org. That allows patrons access to all the online resources and can be made permanent once the branches reopen.
Reese said on the website people are able to download ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics and videos. For those without internet, it’s possible to access the library’s WiFi in the parking lot in Stanardsville and download to your device and read, listen to or watch the item at home.
For those wondering what to read during this time, there’s a podcast link for “On the Same Page,” where staffers talk about their favorite books and what they’re reading while at home.
There are career resources for those trying to bump up their skills for their resumes, there are language programs to learn a new language, there are books for how to knit and there’s an ebook history collection that’s good for students or history buffs.
“There are a lot of history buffs in Greene County,” Reese said.
For more information about great resources, visit the JMRL Reads Wiki at https://www.jmrl.org/wiki/JMRL_Reads:_A_Wiki_for_Sharing_Information_about_Books_for_Readers_of_All_Ages.
“I’ve been so impressed with my colleagues and the information they’re putting up right now,” Reese said. “A lot of our programs have gone online already and there’s a list of virtual programs on the main page. Book clubs are going online; our first virtual book club meeting in Greene is the first Thursday in May and we’re reading “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng.”
Teens are doing an online anime program and there’s going to be a “Survival of the Knittest” class in the future. Children’s librarians are putting up story time videos online to allow “young patrons to see the people they’re used to seeing during weekly story times,” Reese added.
People who want to participate in the online programs need to register on the website under the program. Check the library’s Facebook and YouTube channel for updates on those.
Reese said one thing she has noticed is people are slowing down a little bit.
“One kind of positive thing that’s happening amidst all the stuff that’s not so great is that people are slowing down because they’re forced to be at home,” she said. “People are cooking meals now. I see people in my neighborhood walking who I’ve never seen before. People have the time now.”
Reese said the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is still happening and the forms are now available online (https://www.jmrl.org/pr-kids.htm). The library is still unsure if the Summer Reading Program will happen this year, but Reese hopes it does.
“We miss our patrons,” she said. “We hope Virginians are going to stay well and that people, businesses and the library will be able to get back to something resembling normal as soon as possible.”
(tutorials for each are available on jmrl.org/on-download.htm on the right side)
JMRL and COVID-19: jmrl.org/covid19
Libby App: download from Google Play or App Store
OverDrive: offers both ebooks and downloadable audiobooks compatible with many different devices with the Libby app. https://help.overdrive.com/en-us/home.htm
RBdigital: offers a single platform for all their digital content and a free account signup is required. There is an app at Google Play or App Store. Visit https://jmrlva.rbdigital.com/.
Freading: app: available at App Store and Google Play. Freading offers a selection of ebooks available at all times with no holds or waiting. Free account signup. You will need the apple or Adobe Digital Editions to view the content.
Kanopy: app available at App Store, Google Play, Kindle Fire or TV Apps. Kanopy showcases more than 30,000 films and plenty of kids’ programming. Visit jmrl.kanopy.com.