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Information Portal

Pictured is the James Prendergast Library in Jamestown. P-J file photo

The James Prendergast Library is more than just books. The library also is about accessing information.

So, during the pandemic, patrons can access variety of online resources and programming.

“These are accessible via the library’s website at prendergastlibrary.org, and the library’s Facebook page. On Facebook, we are running virtual programs five days a week. We offer staff-led storytimes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. where staff members read picture books and ask open ended questions for kids to answer at home, said Anne Greene, executive director. “ On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. we’re sharing storytimes from Storyline Online, a site that features celebrities reading stories out loud.”

Greene added that Monday through Friday at 2 p.m., a video is posted of staff demonstrating a science-based activity that kids can try at home. “So far, we’ve made slime, created a vinegar and baking soda volcano that erupts, experimented with density levels, and discussed making your own science notebooks. We welcome suggestions from our viewers as well,” she added.

The executive director noted that patrons can access ebooks and eaudiobooks online via Overdrive and the Libby application, Rosetta Stone, The New York Times, Penn Foster career classes, and genealogy databases are free and accessible via the library’s website. She said all that patrons need are library card numbers to access the resources. Patrons are encouraged to email reference@prendergastlibrary.org if they need their account information or any assistance in accessing online resources, she said.

“On our website, we also have pages that list online resources for kids and for adults. Many companies are offering resources that typically require a paid subscription at no cost — such as Tumblebooks and Audible. Others, such as Scholastic, have created week-by-week lesson plans for parents to use while schools are closed. PBS Kids is offering a daily newsletter with tips for at-home learning. We’re linking to all of these resources and more on our website, so parents have easy access to all of these options,” Greene said.

She said while many ebooks and eaudiobooks can be accessed for free at overdrive.ccls.com or the Libby app on mobile devices, The majority of the materials are fiction, with a wide variety of genres including historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, mysteries, and literature. Nonfiction genres include biography, history, politics, art, and business. There are also materials for young adults and children. “New ebooks and eaudiobooks are added to the collection every week,” she said. For help with accessing materials go to prendergastlibrary.org/overdrive-tips-and-tricks. All electronic materials can be checked out for three weeks. They are returned automatically after three weeks, so there are no late fees.

As long as no one else has requested the item, patrons can also renew their checkouts to keep them for an additional three weeks, she said.

She said her staff has been working diligently on the library’s reopening plan that addresses the new requirements to ensure the safety and the health of the public and library staff members.

“We will follow the same guidelines for reopening issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York state, and the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System (CCLS). As our rules are changing, we will continue to work within those rules to ensure that every kind of library service will be available as soon as possible. The library has developed a procedure for contactless curbside pickup of materials that will allow patrons to check items out without coming into the library. Once restrictions are lifted further, we will be able to welcome a limited numbers of patrons in the library at one time; however, this will all depend on the rules we need to follow as those restrictions are lifted. Staff and patrons will be required to wear masks, plexiglass will be installed at our service desks, and the library space will be rearranged to support proper social distancing,” she added.

While the library is closed, Greene said, temporary library cards will not expire and can be used to check out electronic materials and access online resources.

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