Free Library Safely Serves Up Virtual Programs

Online resources and digital media available 24/7

By Kate Copp

When our buildings closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic back in March, we could have never imagined that we’d still be serving the public under different circumstances at the end of August. :-/ So although we CAN’T WAIT until the day we can all get together in person again, we wanted to remind you that we actually never left and have been here all along.

Virtual Programming:  Almost immediately, our staff came together to make a plan for delivering the dynamic, fun, informative events and programs you’ve become used to attending in our libraries – but doing so online. Since the end of March, we’ve hosted hundreds of virtual programs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Crowdcast, YouTube, and Zoom, and we hope you’ve enjoyed tuning in as much as we’ve enjoyed finding a new way to connect with you! If you’ve missed anything along the way, check out your neighborhood library (or any of our libraries and departments) on Facebook or YouTube, and watch the recordings back when the time is convenient for you.

Digital Media:  We’ve also spent this time amplifying our digital resources, and have helped many patrons get plugged into Free Library offerings online for the first time! Our newest resource is the Historical Newspapers – Black Newspapers collection from ProQuest, which provides remote full-text access to help piece together a fuller story of American history and features stories that were omitted from textbooks and mainstream newspapers. From music to movies, TV to audiobooks and ebooks, language learning and professional development courses, our digital resources and databases have something for everyone, and they’re available at your fingertips with your Free Library card and PIN!

Online Content:  Here on our blog, staff have been churning out valuable content, from the informative (how to wear a mask, how to access ebooks or audiobooks for the first time, how to keep your produce fresh longer) to the fun (make crafts using items in your recycling bin, find inspiration for a local hike with picture books from our catalog)! Browse our blog now – you might just learn something new!

Expanded Offerings and Help:  More recently, we were very pleased to introduce a few expanded offerings across our system, including contactless library materials pickup, book drop returns, and telephone reference services, as well as a brand new helpline: 1-833-TALK-FLP (825-5357). Have you taken advantage of these new services yet? Please check our website or call ahead as days and times may be subject to change.

We hope to have more updates to share very soon as our offerings continue to expand and we work our way (safely!) back to “normal” – stay tuned here to our website and to our social media channels for the latest news and information on the status of Free Library operations.

We also hope to be able to get together soon, but until then, we hope you’re enjoying the options above and remember: our staff is here for you, always!

*This article was originally published as a blog post at the Free Library’s website on August 20, 2020.* 

(Kate Copp is Social Media Director for the Free Library of Philadelphia)

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