Amid stay-at-home mandates and closures of all kinds, including libraries, I want to reassure the public that King County Library System is still very much “open for business” online.
KCLS has been working diligently to expand our online resources for students, adults, children, teens, and older adults, so that patrons of all ages can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active during this unprecedented time.
As people shelter in place to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for online resources has risen dramatically. As of March 26, KCLS has seen a 392% increase in eCard registrations compared to the same period last year. In response, KCLS has increased its digital collections so that eCard holders as well as regular library card holders can take full advantage of online eBooks, magazines, databases, music and movies.
To help students, teachers, parents and caregivers keep up with academics during school closures, our revamped K-12 web page provides links to a wide variety of educational support resources, tips and activities, from homework help through Tutor.com to STEM learning from Tumblemath.com.
Our small business webpage links the business community to information and resources like business.wa.gov, which includes COVID-19 information and resources for Washington state businesses. Databases like Lynda.com offer skill-building on a host of topics. We have tools for market research and access to Microsoft Office Software certification classes, and our popular program series for entrepreneurs, 425 Startup, will be held online in April as well.
KCLS’ range of streaming content will keep you and your family entertained and engaged while closures remain in effect. Whether you are interested in literature, genealogy, learning a new language, or just staying fit, KCLS has you covered. Use Kanopy to watch movies, TV shows, or PBS’ highly regarded Great Courses series. You can even stream health and fitness classes through Hoopla, including social-distancing Yoga for Kids.
Since we cannot accept returned items when our buildings are closed, KCLS has modified its lending policies, extending the due date on all physical materials until July 31. We ask that patrons keep their items at home until that time. And when access to digital materials is more important than ever, we are pleased to learn that Macmillan Publishers has lifted its embargo on eBooks.
While our libraries remain closed, I invite you to connect with KCLS virtually. Our Ask KCLS staff is available by phone, email, and chat to answer your questions, help you choose a good book, connect you to reliable resources, and ensure you find trustworthy information during these challenging times.
Lisa Rosenblum is executive director of the King County Library System.