Lawrence Public Library launches online story times, other programs during building’s closure

This screenshot shows a scene from the Lawrence Public Library's Stories from the Farm series with storytime librarian Linda Clay.

The Lawrence Public Library may be closed, but that doesn’t mean that story times and other activities have to end.

The library recently began providing online programming, such as story times for kids and book discussions. Executive Director Brad Allen recently told the Journal-World that launching the digital content and being available for library patrons was important.

“We are trying to be there as much as we can for Lawrence despite our building not being open,” Allen said.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health initially ordered schools, recreation facilities and public libraries closed March 13, and additional state and local health orders and closures have followed as the number of cases has increased. The library has since announced it will remain closed through May 17 in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

Allen said the library is planning to do at least three online story times per week and library staff is also working on programming for teens and adults. He said book clubs, using books that are available online, will hold virtual book discussions using video conferencing.

For example, this week, the library posted “Stories on the Farm with Miss Linda”, in which librarian Linda Clay tells the story of “The Little Red Hen” while surrounded by animals at Coal Creek Farm. The first online Books and Babies Storytime was also posted this week, and includes a sing-along with musicians. Staff members are also making blog posts, such as a blog about the top digital book and movie resources for students. Online content is linked on the library’s website and is posted on the library’s Facebook page.

For those who need help with the library’s new online programming or have other questions for the reference desk, the library has expanded its live chat feature. The live chat is located on the front page of the library’s website and is now available Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

Allen said the library will announce new content on its website and social media as it becomes available.

“For me, the biggest thing is trying to figure out how to keep people connected online,” Allen said.


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