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When you can’t visit the library, find it at your place

Since 1958, libraries have celebrated National Library week every April. This year’s theme is “Find Your Place at the Library,” or more appropriately now, “Find the Library at Your Place!”

As the American Library Association reminds us, “although our physical spaces may be closed, libraries are still helping people find their place in the world.” I love the Pine River Library’s tagline – “connecting people with possibilities” – because it rings true with everything we do, even during a pandemic. Although services at libraries can vary, most of what I write about below is available from most libraries. Here are some ways you can bring your library to your home:

Get an electronic library card (if you don’t already have a library card) to get access to e-books, e-audio books, videos and more. Much of our content is online and available to you for free. Call your library (or several libraries and get several cards) and tell them you want an e-card. Call 24/7, leave a message and we will get back to you within 24 hours. An e-card gives you access with just a couple of clicks to all the e-materials we have available on our website. We purchase most of these materials through Overdrive, a service that lets you borrow digital content (like e-books and e-audiobooks) anytime, anywhere. They’ve even created an app, called Libby, which makes access even easier. Like videos? Try Kanopy, our online streaming video service. Through Kanopy, library cardholders can download independent films, children’s videos and the Great Courses. Prefer magazines? There are several sources of online magazines that give you access to more than 2,000 magazines. From People to The Atlantic to Wired to Car and Driver – you’re bound to find something of interest.Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center. We’ve created a hub of information to help our community face these unprecedented times. See the “COVID-19 Resources” drop-down in the top menu of prlibrary.org for links to factual sources of information about the virus; resources for businesses trying to navigate assistance programs; and a listing of current Bayfield business and restaurant services. You’ll also find information connecting those in need of help and those who want to offer help through our “Need A Hand/Lend a Hand” initiative. Interested in family history? Ever wonder where your great grandfather was born and where he entered our country? Use our resources to research your heritage.Always wanted to have a basic knowledge of Spanish or sign language? Check out our Mango database – or one of several others that are available in libraries.What about an updated résumé? Libraries have web resources to help you. Or, call and one of our staff can help. And, if all this seems intimidating, library staff members are ready and willing to walk you through any of this – you just need to take that first step and call. Then, grab your cup of coffee, type in your library website and “find the library at your place.”

Shelley Walchak is director of Pine River Library.