When I signed up to write this column a few months ago, I intended to share a few of the online services offered by our local libraries. Little did I know that I would write it at a time when many librarians are busily fostering virtual libraries on their Facebook pages and websites. In recent days, our brick and mortar libraries have closed. Digital offerings have suddenly become the foundation on which our libraries temporarily rest.
There’s a national and state emergency. You’re stuck at home. Maybe you have kids who need activities to keep them busy. Why not try the library? You can’t go to the library physically, but the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover offers enough reading and other activities to carry you and your family through the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
For Jennifer Pearson, the choice was difficult but clear: Shut down the library, or people could die.
“My library was filled with older people,” Pearson says. “I just wanted to go out and scream, ‘Go home. What are you doing here?’ I knew that if we didn’t make that move to close the building, they would never stop coming. We were, at that point, doing more harm than good.”
Residents of the Boston area are spending a lot more time at home due to the novel coronavirus pandemic that has led to not only limits on how many people can gather at one time and where but to the closure of myriad cultural institutions
But many of these same institutions—museums, parks, performing arts centers, libraries, and more—offer virtual peeks into their exhibits, collections, and other offerings. Some even have snazzy videos that really take your inside. And all of this from the (relative) comfort of your own home.
As educators, parents, and students enter this unknown territory of school closures and remote learning, kid lit authors and illustrators have been stepping up to help. Many are parents themselves and juggling the same school/work balance amid the stress and uncertainty.
“Gina and I are transitioning to homeschooling,” tweeted Jarrett J. Krosoczka, creator of the graphic novel Hey Kiddo among other titles. “We need to keep the kids on a schedule, and we are imagining we are far from alone. We want to help. Every weekday at 2pm ET for at least the next few weeks, I’ll host free webcasts for you and your kiddos. http://youtube.com/studiojjk ”
Hundreds are self-quarantining in Massachusetts. Colleges are sending students home. Social interaction is edging toward taboo.
That’s not the ideal environment to conduct a nationwide head count. So with the launch of the 2020 Census on Thursday, Secretary of State William F. Galvin made a plea to Massachusetts’s estimated 6.9 million residents to not only ensure they’re counted, but to do it online.
“I now see this is as a lifeline, as it were, given the circumstances we’re now under,” Galvin said Thursday of the option to respond to the 2020 Census electronically, though the old-fashioned avenues — by phone, by mail, or to a census taker face-to-face — all remain.
The first public library opened in Boston between 1711 and 1725. Since then, to say the least, things have changed. Entering the technological age, libraries have had to make great leaps to ensure they keep up with the profusion of new forms of knowledge. While some may still view libraries as places to search through stacks of books – which, of course, they are – they have also become havens of futuristic learning and living.
Hometown Weekly’s communities provide perfect examples of just such technologically-enhanced libraries.
A little over a year after the groundbreaking, on Dec. 19, the East Forest Park Library officially opened its doors to the public for the first time in a brand new building on Surrey Road.
The Cambridge Public Library has announced the January launch of the Cambridge Public Library STEAM Academy, in partnership with local nonprofit organization Innovators for Purpose.