Area libraries provide escape from boredom

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Southington Public Library, above, is offering curb-side pickup. Libraries in Bristol and Plainville are also continuing services during the virus outbreak. (Photo by John Goralski)

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, events and venues are closing their doors in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, but the public libraries are reminding residents that “having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.” The Bristol, Plainville, and Southington public libraries are closed to the public until the end of the month at the very least, but all three have a lively online presence that will make your quarantine a little more bearable.

While the physical libraries are closed to the public, library staff in Bristol and Plainville will be on site to virtually assist residents. The Southington library staff will no longer be in house, as of Monday, March 23, but will be available at SouthingtonPublicLibrary@Southington.org.

In Plainville, residents will be able to check out items currently stocked on the shelves via the library’s website—PlainvilleCT.Com/Library—and pick up those items in person. Once you have contacted the library and confirmed your materials are ready, library staff will bring bagged items to your vehicle. Items can be returned through the drop box at regular intervals. According to library officials, all items being checked out and returned will be sanitized.

In Bristol, assistant library director Scott Stanton asks that items that are currently checked out remain in your homes for the time being, as all returned items will need to be quarantined and sanitized before being returned to the shelves.

All three libraries have waived late fees for the time being.

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In all three towns, the libraries have many online resources that can be accessed using your library card. Don’t yet have a library card? Both Bristol and Southington will be offering temporary e-cards, allowing residents to access and check out a number of materials such as e-books, audio-books, music, movies, and TV shows.

In Bristol and Southington, the libraries will be utilizing social media and an online format to offer programming and activities for children who will be home due to school closures.

“Our children’s department has really stepped up in a big way,” said Stanton. “I think that is one of the biggest needs right now with kids out of school—there’s a real need for offering those programs.”

And for the residents who want to use this time to learn something new, all three libraries have access to databases and learning programs such as Mango, a free and self-paced language learning program that offers more than 70 languages, or JobNow, a free, live one-on-one resume, job search, and interview assistance program with trained career counselors.

Unfortunately, meetings that were scheduled to take place at the library during the shutdown will have to be cancelled or rescheduled. Please contact your public library to discuss proper procedures. And in a similar vein, the libraries will not be offering materials from other libraries—a Plainville resident hoping to check out an item from another library would be unable to do so.

The Bristol Public Library at 5 High Street can be contacted by calling (860) 584-7787 or by emailing BristolLibrary@BristolCT.gov. The F.N. Manross Memorial Library at 260 Central Street, Forestville, can be contacted by calling (860) 584-7790.

The Plainville Public Library at 56 E Main Street can be contacted by calling (860) 793-1446 or by emailing PlainvillePublicLibrary@gmail.com.

The Southington Public Library at 255 Main Street can be contacted by calling (860) 628-0947 or by emailing SouthingtonPublicLibrary@Southington.org.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at Entertainment@PlainvilleObserver.com.