Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, according to Gallup, Inc., an American analytics and advisory company based in Washington, D.C.
Their closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic has great impact, and in this unprecedented time they’re finding ways to remain a meaningful resource to the communities they serve.
Creative solutions are popping up all over the East End, with many libraries utilizing social media and virtual technology. And there’s programs for everyone, from preschoolers to seniors.
Keep in mind that no library card is needed for most offerings, especially those on social media, so when exploring what’s available don’t limit yourself to your local library. And as for library cards, several libraries are allowing you to sign up online.
If tech-challenged or you haven’t previously used virtual meetup software, there’s concise how-to YouTube videos on using Zoom and Google Hangouts. Typing in “Young Adult East Hampton Library” in the search bar will lead you to the Teen Tech Titans of the East Hampton Library. You can find these useful tutorials, with more to come. Tech Titans are also running a Teen Tech Assistance Program on Saturday mornings from 10 AM to noon, where questions can be asked and answered.
Here are some library offerings across the South Fork:
Westhampton Free Library
Westhampton Free Library director Danielle Waskiewicz said the library has many digital resources.
“We are doing our best to provide our community with information in content to the best of our ability so that our community doesn’t feel isolated,” she said. “Our website is updated often and is the best source for our digital resources. Our Facebook pages have staff content and important information.”
Waskiewicz said there’s a virtual story time, guitar lessons, and more. Daily e-newsletters are also sent out with internet finds and important local information.
Many library resources are also available online, videos can be streamed with Hoopla and Kanopy, and eBooks and audiobooks are still available.
For more information, visit westhamptonlibrary.net.
Hampton Bays Public Library
Besides eBooks and audiobooks, Hampton Bays Public Library is offering free downloads of movies.
Library director Susan LaVista says she expects cooking and exercise classes, craft programs, musical performances, and more to be available soon.
“All departments will continue adding new things as we get used to operating solely online,” she said. “We are working with our regular program providers and have challenged them to get creative and find ways to provide programs to our patrons remotely.”
The reference department added links to COVID-19 information and resources, and expanded online chat hours.
The teen department also has online resources and a tab titled Virtual Exploration that links to many others. Daily programs and news are being posted to Facebook and Instagram.
The children’s department has included resources for families and caregivers, posted on a blog with online story times, coloring and drawing activities, and more.
“We, along with all Suffolk libraries, are learning new ways to do our work remotely, and to find new ways to provide services and programs to our patrons of all ages,” LaVista said. “It’s a challenge that I know we will meet with determination, perseverance, and creativity.”
Visit hamptonbayslibrary.org to learn more.
Rogers Memorial Library
Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton will remain closed through April 19, and until that time the library will be providing updates through emails, its website, Facebook, and Instagram.
Books, movies, music, TV shows, and more can be downloaded or streamed, and the library is hosting a talking history series and short story book club. There’s also Books & Booze, and virtual HIIT workouts on Zoom.
A library card is needed for most services, but can be applied for online.
“We’re ramping up our presence on social media so we can reach as many community members as possible and offer them the greatest number of activities they can participate in from home, including information on help for small business information on loans and small business grants,” library director Liz Burns said. “The library staff are working hard at creating ways to stay connected to our community and deliver services remotely, so please stay tuned and check back often.”
Patrons can also sign up for email blasts, sent out twice a week.
Visit www.myrml.org for more information.
Hampton Library in Bridgehampton will be using Zoom for story times, bedtime stories, music, teen book clubs, crafts, cooking, Dungeons & Dragons, contests, trivia, Tai chi, and crystal singing bowl meditation.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, especially from our teens, who are looking for a bit of normalcy during what are very uncertain times,” library director Kelly Harris said. “Our goal is to continue to be the ‘third place’ — referring to places where people spend time between home and work — for our community. Even if that third place is virtual.”
The Board of Trustees held a virtual special meeting March 25 to discuss the rebirth and renewal of the library, shown through a redesign.
A series of public charrettes and online surveys will soon be available to help the library trustees make better use of the space for the community.
“The Hampton Library is embarking on a redesign of our public space to better meet the needs of our users,” Harris said. “In recent years it has become evident we need to address an adequate space for our tweens and teens. Our meeting room spaces are both too small, or not intimate enough, for the library’s language and discussion classes. We need to find both collaborative and quiet space for patrons, and workspace for one-on-one tech help we provide on a daily basis. We are very fortunate to have an engaged community of users and the input will be invaluable in setting the course of the library in the future.”
To learn more, visit myhamptonlibrary.org.
John Jermain Memorial Library
Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library has a blog, It’s Germane, that can be followed for at-home ideas to learn and pass the time, as well as available resources.
Categories include librarians’ top picks for children, parents, and educators, creating your own legal documents, looking for health insurance, and poetry in empty spaces.
“We have continued to make every effort to serve our patrons,” library director Catherine Creedon said. “Sag Harbor is such a close-knit community, and we know that now, more than ever, John Jermain needs to be present and responsive to the needs of our neighbors. We’re collaborating with the school to support curriculum and providing access to live tutoring every school day through the Brainfuse database, as well as live tutoring in regents math once a week.”
A FAQ page with community information was also added, and a COVID-19 Sag Harbor archive, both updated daily.
Other online items include book clubs, art classes, trivia, chat with a librarian, and baby beats music.
If you sign up for the email list, you will receive an email each Sunday evening with details for the week ahead.
Visit www.johnjermain.org for more information.
East Hampton Library
For kids, East Hampton Library is offering live picture book readings and weekly craft postings like make-from-home activities. For young adults, there’s an Instagram-based social distancing challenge, online college admissions workshops, and a teen photo contest for outdoor shots and selfies — no groups, of course.
“There will also be an online workshop for teens — Long Distance Relationships in a Time of Social Distancing — run in collaboration with The Retreat to help teens struggling with dating during this time,” young adult librarian Lisa Michne said.
Teens can register for these programs on the library’s upcoming events calendar on the website or by emailing the young adult department at [email protected]
Other online resources can be found by clicking “Coronavirus Information” on the library’s main page.
Visit easthamptonlibrary.org to learn more.