Library news

Social distancing does not mean social isolation

POUGHKEEPSIE—All libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) have closed the doors to their facilities in response to the public health crisis of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Nevertheless, all MHLS libraries are still serving their communities with digital collections and innovative approaches to delivering programs and services online and in nontraditional ways.

More than 300,000 residents in the MHLS region hold library cards and rely on libraries for access to information, education and cultural experiences, according to a press release, and libraries pride themselves on being available during critical times in their communities.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, libraries in the Hudson Valley are helping residents connect with online services. MHLS libraries work together to leverage local and state funds to provide a digital collection that includes eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, eMagazines, online courses and language learning software.

Some counties have invested in their libraries to help provide additional online resources such as 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

Area libraries also offer programs to their communities through online platforms like Facebook—from story times and craft hours to how-to videos that show library patrons how to download a book. Many libraries are still available by phone to answer reference and research questions.

Libraries are also looking for ways to connect residents with healthy activities. 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.

Local examples of these services follow.

—The Chatham Public Library is posting links to online story times (, virtual field trips ( and more. At the library’s Facebook page, readers can chat about what they’re reading in a Literary Salon. Check out the library’s website,, and email comments and questions to .

—The Roeliff Jansen Community Library in Copake offers a plethora of free online resources that can be accessed remotely. Some of these resources are:

—AudioBookCloud: Listen to thousands of free audiobooks, in English and Spanish, without having to worry about holds, returns or downloads. Books are always available, and no login is required

—RomanceBookCloud : Access more than 1,700 romance eBooks

—TeenBookCloud: Home to a wide selection of young adult and middle-grade novels, audiobooks, graphic novels, and more

—Libby: Borrow and download eBooks and audiobooks to a phone, tablet, or iPod with a library card

—Universal Class: Take part in hundreds of online classes spanning more than 30 topics, from accounting and stress management to philosophy and creative writing

—TumbleBooks and TumbleMath: Balance fun and education with this selection of eBooks, puzzles, lesson plans and more

—Kanopy: Watch up to 10 movies per month, free; children’s movies are unlimited

—Local residents can still access the Roe Jan Library’s free fiber optic Wi-Fi via the library parking lot, 9091 Route 22.

—The Valatie Free Library Facebook and Instagram pages offer authors reading from their books, including Laura Numeroff reading her book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” with its multiple plot twists, and Bob Shea in a dramatic reading of his “Who Wet My Pants?”

For additional activities, the library’s web page,, offers links to Overdrive (download eBooks and audio books) and Kanopy (stream movies). Patrons will need their library card number for those services, but the library can help with that, as necessary: email , and they will respond with the account number and login instructions, if needed.

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