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The facilities for Huntsville-Madison County Public Library may be closed, but the library staff has recorded entertaining and educational videos available online to continue connections with patrons. CONTRIBUTED

Enjoy online materials, videos during National Library Week (and beyond)

MADISON COUNTY – During National Library Week, individuals can connect with the wealth of online resources at the branches of Huntsville-Madison County Public Library while the brick-and-mortar buildings are closed.

“The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library invites all community members to find the library at their place by visiting the website hmcpl.org/hmcplconnects to access virtual services and resources,” Melanie Thornton said. Thornton is Director of Public Relations.

“While the library’s physical spaces may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the public can discover ebooks, movies, online storytimes and much more — all from home,” Thornton said.

In times of crisis, libraries respond to their community’s needs in innovative and inspiring ways. “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the HMCPL continues to make a difference in people’s lives by providing electronic learning resources, including virtual homework help, online crafting and programming, as well as information about keeping your family well and safe,” Thornton said.

A wide array of virtual services is available:

* E-books – Accessed with library’s Digital Media Zone with hundreds of new titles added.
* Hoopla Digital – Offering free books, audiobooks, movies and more.
* Homework Alabama – Accessed with tutor.com, which has expanded hours for tutoring.
* Learning Express – Assists with test preparation.
* Ancestry.com – Open to temporary access from home. Email askus@hmcpl.org for password.
* e-books – Available with Freading.
* Music – Accessed with Freegal.
* List of electronic resources – Available from Alabama Public Library Service.
* COVID-19 misinformation – Explained in blog series.

Anyone can access online books and movies with a library card. Librarians are renewing and issuing new library cards; email askus@hmcpl.org. “Since closing, we have had hundreds of users either sign up for a library card or renew their cards. I think people are seeing the value in what libraries have to offer,” Thornton said.

“Before the official closing date, our youth librarians began recording storytimes for our YouTube channel. Tune in every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. for a new storytime with your favorite youth librarians, including Eileen Drummond and Lisa Blackmon at Madison Public Library. Eileen and Lisa are also taking part in the STEM Wednesdays programming, every Wednesday at 10 a.m.,” Thornton said.

Sessions are open in online programming by visiting YouTube:

* Online Storytime — Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m.

* STEM Wednesdays — Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

* Crafting with Haley — Fridays at 10 a.m.

“When certain restrictions have been lifted, our first goal is to be able to offer curbside service at select locations, including Madison Public Library. We’re speaking with public health officials about how to do this safely — for both our patrons and our staff,” Thornton said. “There are also behind-the-scenes logistics with our cataloging and transit systems that we’re working on right now to make it as seamless as possible.”

For more information, visit hmcpl.org.

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