While all libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System have closed the doors to their facilities in response to the public health crisis of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), most through the end of the month, all are still actively serving their communities thanks to well-developed digital collections and innovative approaches to delivering programs and services online and in non-traditional ways.
“Our libraries leaders were heartbroken to shut the doors to their buildings to help “flatten the curve” and slow down the spread of COVID-19,” said Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System, “They know how critical their services are to the citizens of their towns. More than 300,000 residents in our region are library cardholders and rely on libraries for access to information, education and cultural experiences that enhance their quality of life.
"It is very difficult for us to put forward this recommendation [to close libraries],” said the Executive Board of the American Library Association, “Libraries pride themselves on being there during critical times for our communities. We are often the only institutions to remain open during times of crisis. Service and stewardship to our communities are core to our profession.”
A Bright Light
Libraries in the Hudson Valley are responding by helping residents connect with online services. The libraries of the Mid-Hudson Library System work together cooperatively to leverage local and state funds to provide a digital collection that includes:
Some counties have invested in their libraries to help provide even MORE online resources like streaming movies and genealogical research databases. To access the systemwide services listed above and to find out if your local library has more to offer go to https://search.midhudsonlibraries.org
Area libraries are getting very creative in offering programs to their community through online platforms like Facebook – from storytimes and craft hours to how-to videos that show library patrons how to download a book. Many libraries are even available by phone to answer reference and research questions.
Libraries are also looking for ways to connect residents with healthy activities to keep their spirits up during a time of social distancing. Recommendations for nature walks and activities for school-age children, as well as ways to stay connected to family and friends, are frequently posted on libraries’ social media channels.
“Our libraries want to be sure social distancing does not mean social isolation,” said Aldrich, “We are all in this together.”