Northern Tier Library offering virtual story time for children
Friday, March 20, 2020 | 12:01 AM
At the start of every story time session at Northern Tier Regional Library, youth services librarian Janina Kvedaras sings an opening song with the children.
It starts off with the lyrics, “I am here and you are here and we are all together.”
While that may not be true right now — the library is among the many institutions closed amidst the coronavirus pandemic — kids can not only hear and see Kvedaras singing the song but also reading to them via the library’s Facebook page.
Posting daily videos is one solution the librarians have found as they seek ways to continue to engage the community and beyond even while everyone is compelled to stay at a distance.
“We serve the public and we’re not allowed to be there,” said director Diane Illis. “It’s the craziest thing.”
The library was notified of the shutdown on Friday, March 13 and on Monday the staff began trying to come up with some creative solutions to social distancing, Illis said. One of the ideas was to have Kvedaras continue her story times online, and over the past several days she’s posted videos of songs, rhymes and stories twice a day. Illis said she hopes that experiencing it via video may be a comfort.
The library has also been posting about e-resources that are available, including the Libby app, where users can download free eBooks, audiobooks and magazines, and Hoopla to download free movies, television shows, comics, audiobooks and music albums. Illis is also trying to figure out how she might do online book clubs. Also, all late fees are waived for those who currently have books and other materials checked out.
While customers may find they have to wait for the ebooks they want to become available due to higher demand, Illis said, the upside is that people now have more time to read so the wait may not be as long. And at least one publisher, Macmillan, just canceled its embargo on the sale of new ebooks to libraries that only allowed them to buy one copy the first six weeks of a title’s release and resulted in months-long waits for patrons.