by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
The Litchfield Public Library is closed indefinitely because of COVID-19, along with all other libraries in Pioneerland Library System. The book drop is closed, as well. For now, please keep public library books and movies at home, and once the library reopens you may return them. Due dates will continue to be extended while the library is closed, so there’s no need to worry about late fees.
All library events and programs that had been scheduled for April and May are canceled or indefinitely postponed. This includes storytimes, Brickheads Lego building, book clubs, craft and activity programs for adults and kids, and the May book sale. We are hoping to offer some virtual programs or online content that you can access from home. For example, I’m hoping to host my April 14th book club meeting via Zoom or Facebook Live so that we can discuss “O Pioneers!” without the health risk of gathering a group of people.
Some resources are available while the library is closed.
Pioneerland’s downloadable ebooks and audiobooks are available at pioneerland.overdrive.com or by using the free Libby or Overdrive app on a smartphone, tablet, or Kindle. To find your local collection, search Overdrive for your local library, and that will lead you to Pioneerland. If it lists a library system name other than Pioneerland, you may have chosen a Litchfield or Grove City in another state; it’s a common mistake.
Most titles are available to only one person at a time, just like a physical book, but a collection of classics is available for unlimited numbers of users to borrow at one time. Another option is the current Big Library Read, a book that Overdrive chooses for unlimited checkouts for a limited time. The current title is Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary. This is a teen-oriented memoir that adults can also enjoy. It’s available for unlimited borrowers through April 13.
Even though the libraries are closed, our library system is adding more downloadable titles all the time to meet your need for books. Looking for something you can check out immediately, instead of putting yourself on a waiting list? Choose “collections,” then “available now,” and you can view your many options for checking out a book right away.
Don’t have a library card? There’s a new way to sign up for a digital card online. Go to Overdrive or Libby on a computer, phone, or tablet, and choose the option to sign up for an instant digital card using your cell phone number. You should only use this option if you don’t already have a library card. Ebooks are only available to people who live within the service area of each library system; Meeker County residents can access Pioneerland ebooks, but residents of some of our neighboring counties cannot.
If you have a library card that has expired within the past year or that was about to expire in the coming two months, your card’s expiration date has now been extended to June, and you should be able to use it to check out ebooks. If you have trouble using your card, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will find out if someone from our headquarters can resolve the issue.
You can also send me an email if you need assistance with research, and I’ll do what I can with online resources from home. Another option is AskMN, the 24-hour information and research help service from Minnesota libraries. Visit askmn.org for real-time online chat assistance from a librarian for help finding information on any topic, including college research.
Prefer to do the searching yourself? The Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) is a massive online resource that’s free for Minnesotans. You can access magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles, encyclopedias for all ages, test prep resources, résumé guidance, and federal government documents. It’s a fantastic resource for students as well as the general public. One unique collection within ELM is called Minnesota Reflections; it’s made up of images and documents from throughout the history of Minnesota, contributed by museums, archives, colleges, and libraries across the state. Access ELM at elibrarymn.org.
Free public wifi is available outside the library. If you park on the street or in the parking lot near the building, you should be able to pick it up, and no password is required.
I hope you are staying home as much as possible as our whole society works together to control this pandemic. I am hopeful that we can care for each other and each do our part for the greater good. I wish you health and happiness in the midst of this stressful time.