At the time this was originally posted most libraries in Virginia were open. However, as the situation is constantly changing this may not be the case with your public library. Regardless if your library is open or not, please take your health and safety, and those of others into consideration when deciding to visit public spaces.
The resources below can be accessed remotely by those who have a VA library card. The recommendations at the bottom are good practice to keep in mind and not meant as an endorsement of visiting in person if you do not have to.
Have you chosen or been required to stay home because of COVID-19? Are your children looking for something to do while home from school? Virginia’s public libraries still have you covered! While each library will have different offerings, there is plenty to read, learn, research, and do with your library card and your library’s website. Don’t have a library card? You may be able to get one online—visit the website or call. The links below go directly to the services provided, accessing the services via your public library’s website may be easier since you will most likely have to input your library card credentials. If you are unsure where your local public library is located, please visit our public library directory. The websites of each library can be found here.
Every Virginia library offers:
- eBooks: In addition to local offerings through Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, Kanopy, and more, all libraries offer ebooks through:
- Ebsco: select from graphic novels, to children’s picture books, to popular fiction and non-fiction
- RBDigital: select from a variety to eAudiobooks—from classics to popular fiction
- Magazines: RBDigital also offers never-expiring current and back issues of popular magazines, from US News and World Report to Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics to The Economist. Download these to your device and keep them as long as you like.
- Learning: Take this time to learn something new!
- Universal Class has courses (with actual teachers or audit only), to improve career skills, such as project management or MS Excel, or learn something for fun, like knitting or mixology
- Rocket Language offers language learning in everything from Spanish to Arabic
- Information: Get trustworthy information from a robust collection of databases featuring peer-reviewed and scholarly articles and papers.
Give these options a try to make the most of your family time:
- Preschoolers to 2nd graders will enjoy Early World from WorldBook, a learning platform filled with games, videos, stories, and a visual encyclopedia.
- Grade schoolers will have fun with the Cricket Media Collection of videos and stories, as well as ebooks from Ebsco, as described above.
- Middle and High schoolers can enjoy ebooks but also might take the opportunity to get a jump on any assignments using the databases and learning opportunities described above.
Many Virginians don’t have broadband internet access at home and may not be able to access these as a result. Some public libraries are loaning wireless hotspots which will provide home internet, with the caveat that if cell phones don’t work at home, neither will the hotspots. However, most public libraries keep their wifi on 24 hours and it is usually accessible in the parking lot, allowing books and activities to be downloaded without entering the building.
While it may differ from place to place, most public library service remains in place as of this posting. Libraries are pitching in to take care of its patrons so the following changes might be noted:
- Social distancing may be encouraged by disabling every other computer, by removing every other chair from study tables, and larger spaces between seating at programs and meetings
- Holds may be slower in being fulfilled as returned books are disinfected before sending off to the next borrower
- Interlibrary loan may be disrupted or halted
Public libraries invite the public to help in maintaining a clean environment by:
- Avoiding the library if you or someone in your home is unwell
- Practicing social distancing at the library
- Volunteering to help wipe down surfaces and/or books at the library
- Wiping down your own space and books when arriving and leaving the library
- Having patience with library staff who are working hard to make the best decisions they can for the public good
Please call or visit your local library’s website for specific information for your community; serving you is your library’s top priority!