EWM Library provides services, despite closed doors

MONROE, CT — Edith Wheeler Memorial Library may have closed its doors two weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean its services have stopped. In fact, staff members are working harder than ever to bring library access into your home.

They are responding to emails and phone messages remotely, while helping library patrons with anything from downloading books to accessing databases.

“Library services are growing and evolving every day as we discover new ways to connect with people,” said Library Director Lorna Rhyins. “When we first closed our doors, we ran a popular Library-to-Go pick-up service for a week, but we had to shut it down when we discovered that demand was so high that it was not possible for staff to maintain social distancing while running it. Instead, we have been focusing on serving people at home, encouraging them to stay in place.”

Rhyins said the best way to connect is to email Reference Services at [email protected]. Phone messages can be left at the Reference Desk direct line, 203-452-2852. This number avoids a long introductory message.

Library staff is making a push to bring popular programs into peoples’ homes via the Zoom app. Miss Michelle’s regular Sing-Along Stories for pre-schoolers is now a weekly online event on Friday mornings. Caregivers can download the Zoom app, then connect via the link and the passcode that goes out ahead of time on email and Facebook.

Other programs for all ages will become available through Zoom in the near future.  Patrons should look for library emails and keep an eye on Facebook for upcoming events.

In an effort to make access of online materials easier, all Monroe library cards that expired since the building closed have recently been automatically renewed. This means patrons can download books, magazines, movies, and other materials, as well as access databases like Morningstar and CreativeBug, without having to update their cards.

Sixty-one of the most popular ebooks were recently added to the Libby/Overdrive catalog. Titles include “Educated; The Dutch House,” “The Silent Patient” and many more.

The library pays for all of these materials so that they are free to anyone living in Monroe who has a library card. Residents who do not have a card can click here to apply online. Applications are processed daily and barcodes generally arrive via email the same day or by the next business day.

To help people keep busy while staying in place, Adult and Teen Services Librarian, Lauren Obach created a series of concise linkable PDF documents that provide information on everything from unemployment and job seeking to using video chat apps for business and social connections. These guides can be accessed by clicking here.

“We miss all of our patrons and want to ensure that we stay in touch and provide them with the excellent service we’ve always prided ourselves on,” Rhyins said. “During these difficult times, we are determined to provide the sense of community and the access to materials that make the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library so important to the people of Monroe.”

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