The Library Is Dedicated to the New Haven Community

by Sharon Lovett-Graff, New Haven Free Public Library

Although the New Haven Free Public Library is closed during the pandemic, here are some ways we are serving the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The library has long served as a “second responder,” stepping up for the community during times of need. It has operated as a warming center when freezing weather struck and as a cooling center during heat waves. From weather events to school closings, the library has provided shelter, computer access, and social services as well as arts entertainment and cultural activities for adults and children in these times of need.

Librarians as “Maker Movement” leaders have quickly responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Our Tinker Lab staff have been putting the library’s 3-D printers and sewing machines to use manufacturing masks for the Yale New Haven Health Centers and the Public Works Departments of the City of New Haven, as well as for staff and volunteers serving meals to the homeless at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and St Thomas Moore Chapel. Although closed to staff and public, the library had some of our 3-D printers and sewing machines moved temporarily to the homes of staff in order to print shields and masks. The library is donating its labor and the materials to this effort, including making sure makers and what they are making comply with specifications for the production of shields and masks.

Although library branches are currently closed, library staff are working hard to be a resource and continue to support the needs of the community. Staff have regular contact with patrons via phone and email, making sure that everyone is stocked up with things to read, watch, listen to, learn, and do. Below is a quick “top ten list” of all the services the library is providing at this time, just to give you a sample.

Top 10 Ways to Use NHFPL from Home

• Social distancing? Your electronic library card is your key to a world of online learning and entertainment for free! Questions? Need an e-library card? Call us and leave a message at (203) 946-8130 or email refdesk@nhfpl.org. For Young Minds and Family Learning call (203) 946-8129 or email youngminds@nhfpl.org.

• Get absorbed in a great story. We’re all in need of some escapist fiction these days! Ebooks, audio books, and graphic novels for adults, children and teens are all available on OverDrive, RBdigital, Freading, Hoopla, TumbleBooks, and TeenBookCloud.

• Enjoy a family-friendly movie night. Tons of films are available for free download with your library card using Kanopy and Hoopla. All you need is the popcorn!

• Start a daily art practice with Creativebug. Learn to sketch, draft a pattern for a new dress, embroider, knit, scrapbook, and so much more.

• Seek help with job hunting. JobNow provides many valuable resources including job coaching, resume preparation and live interview practice.

• New Haven time travel by perusing historic images of our city in the Local History digital collections.

• Research an alternate career path or gain new skills. Take a free course on Lynda.com and learn to be an Excel expert, digital marketer, bookkeeper, graphic designer, screenwriter or comic illustrator. The offerings are endless!

• Exercise! Hoopla contains workout videos, including yoga and aerobics, and dance lessons. Learn to fox trot, salsa or rumba!

• Meet (virtually) with a local entrepreneur! Our Entrepreneur-in-Residence Sammi Williams and Collab partners are offering one-on-one virtual appointments to support your small business or non-profit start-up.

• Need more family fun activities? Plenty of virtual engagement to explore with Young Minds and Family Learning! View Story Times with stories, songs and fingerplays, take a tour of the San Diego Zoo or Boston Children’s Museum, and get reading recommendations and homework help for all ages!

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