Libraries adapting to closure during virus outbreak

Libraries in Parker County are having to adapt to closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, libraries are closing or changing the way they service patrons.

Though the Weatherford Public Library is closed to the public, the staff is broadcasting children’s storytime programming, which includes a story and craft project, through Facebook Live at 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

WPL’s storytimes can build kids’ skills in word association, language, motor skills and creativity, Library Director Chris Accardo said.

“Storytimes can still model for parents how to read with their kid and the experience of interacting with a story,” Accardo said. “Whether it’s virtual or in-person, it does stimulate development in very important areas in young children.”

Weatherford Public Library patrons can also turn to the library’s electronic collections, reference service by phone and curbside checkout of books, Accardo said. Curbside checkout is from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To check out via curbside, patrons need to make a request through the online catalog by 3:30 p.m. for same-day pickup.

“There are still a number of ways we can do what we’ve traditionally done more likely in a face-to-face situation but do that with technology,” Accardo said. “The changes in technology have really made a big difference for us, too, in what we’re able to do. Twenty years ago or even five years ago, our virtual storytime for instance would have been really expensive, expensive equipment. It would have been difficult to create. It would have required maybe even some custom software development. Now it’s just a matter of a cell phone and a decent data connection, and we can put those things online for people.”

Educational resources for kids out of school during the closure is also available on the Weatherford Public Library’s website at http://weatherfordtx.gov/3188/WeatherfordStrong-Resources.

The East Parker County Library and the Springtown Public Library closed last week to patrons.

“We really miss serving our patrons,” East Parker County Library Director Tracy Lambert Jack said. “We have anywhere from 75 to over 100 patrons come in every day, and obviously checking out books is the service that you think of mostly, but we have patrons that come in every day to use our computers to check their email, to get on the internet, to read the news, and we can’t provide that service.”

At the East Parker County Library, people can still return books, which are quarantined, and the library is being deep cleaned, Jack said.

Jack said the East Parker County Library’s closing is not expected to hinder education, especially since the library’s local school district, Aledo ISD, is implementing a distance learning plan. Jack encouraged patrons to keep reading for pleasure.

“Not coming to the library is sad because, for some people, it’s very routine, and for others, it’s exciting to get to go to the library, and we miss everyone and we want to encourage everyone to keep reading for pleasure,” Jack said. “I could not anticipate anyone being adversely affected, except that like if it’s a routine, it’s different, so that’s kind of hard.”

Ebooks are also available via North Texas Libraries on the Go: https://ntrls.overdrive.com/

Recommended for you