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Library provides while Suffolk stays at home

The Suffolk Public Library is offering new virtual services and online content to the community while its locations remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All Suffolk Public Library locations will remain closed to the public and all events will be canceled until June 10, according to a Thursday press release, or unless other executive orders from the governor’s office go into effect.

This is being done in accordance with the best practices and recommendations from national, state and local health officials regarding the potential community spread of COVID-19, the disease that’s caused by the novel coronavirus, as well as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order for all individuals in Virginia to avoid public gathering of more than 10 people, the press release states.

On Wednesday, Suffolk Public Library launched a virtual chat option on the library’s website. According to the press release, this service allows community members to live chat, text and email with library staff. Hours for this service are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it can be accessed at suffolkpubliclibrary.com/ContactUs, or by using the “Contact Us” button on each page of the website.

“We are excited about another avenue to connect with our community and to be able to continue to offer resources during this time,” Tiffany Duck, manager of Library Locations, states in the press release.

Suffolk Public Library is staying connected to its community through virtual classes for all ages and interests, such as storytime sessions, cooking demonstrations, a “Beyond High School” series, live trivia nights and so much more. The public can access previously recorded content through the “Virtual Classes and Events” playlists that are on the library’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Upcoming live events can be found at suffolkpubliclibrary.com/virtualevents.

The “Ready Reads” subscription service, which launched earlier this year, was also modified this month in response to the pandemic.

“We’ve expanded our Ready Reads subscription book bundle service to now include digital titles,” Bill Edwards-Bodmer, collection strategy senior librarian, states in the press release. “Subscribers can now get a curated list of eBooks and/or eAudiobooks each month based on their preferences. We’re doing this as a way to continue a personalized service, even with our physical locations closed.

“It’s another way Suffolk Public Library has adapted to continue offering services while our locations are closed and people are at home.”

Suffolk Public Library’s “Spring into Reading Challenge” continues to offer new activities each week to encourage people to “access free digital content, check on their neighbors, practice self-care,” and engage in other fun activities. Participants can earn points by completing activities and logging reading materials to be entered into a weekly drawing — with a new and exciting prize each week.

The “Print from Anywhere” service continues to be offered for no-contact pick-up at Morgan Memorial Library, 443 W. Washington St., and the North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road. This allows people who do not have a printer at home to get access to important documents they may need for new jobs and other purposes, according to the press release. Contact Suffolk Public Library by calling 514-7323, or through the library’s website chat service, for details on arranging pick-ups.

According to the press release, library books will continue to be automatically renewed, holds have been extended, and no bills are being issued while the library is closed. WiFi2Gos will also not be deactivated if they’re currently checked out. If a book has a hold on it, it will not be auto-renewed, but customers can still hold onto those books, as no bills will be issued.

Library staff are still getting books into the community in other ways while Library2Go visits and Pop-Up Library stops are on hold. Little Libraries are being stocked at Holland Hardware Store, Tynes Street Playground, Lake Meade Park, and the Paul D. Camp Community College campus, where people can take free books and leave books they’ve already read.

Library2Go sites including Belleville Meadows, Hoffler Apartments, Colander Bishop and Cypress Manor/Parker Riddick, will receive weekly bins of free books. These bins will be dropped off on Tuesday mornings and collected on Wednesday mornings to be refreshed for the next week. The surface of all bins and books will be sanitized prior to drop off, the press release states.

For more information visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com or the “Suffolk Public Library” Facebook page, or follow the library on twitter “@SufPubLib.”