Moorestown Library offers digital resources while its doors are closed

Photo courtesy of Joan Serpico. Barb Napoliello works on the Library’s Children’s webpage from home.

You hear the word library and what’s the first image that comes to mind?

If you said books, you’re probably not alone in that answer. But in the digital age, the Moorestown Library has resources to offer beyond the shelves at 111 W. 2nd St. With its doors closed since March 16 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library encourages the Moorestown community to explore its digital resources. Library Director Joan Serpico said staff work remotely to provide educational and entertaining material. 

“We had been interested in taking a closer look at what electronic resources people were loving and reevaluating,” Serpico said. “Now, we just stepped that up a little quicker.”

Serpico said the library’s initial focus was to provide resources for parents who are home with children. Since closing its doors, the library has received offers from vendors for temporary free access to children’s content. Serpico said World Book, Scholastic and Tumblebooks offer popular e-books and educational material accessible from the library’s web page. The library also has started a Kids Reading Corner page where youngsters can spend virtual storytime with a familiar face.

“These are the librarians these kids are used to seeing and might be missing,” Serpico noted. “It provides a sense of normalcy for them and a little bit of connection to the outside world.”

For the teen demographic, the library lists new e-books and audiobooks as well as volunteer projects that students can complete from home. Adults can also access e-books, audiobooks and movies via the Hoopla or Libby apps using their library cards. 

Serpico said with people stuck inside, some residents want to occupy their days with something other than television or video games. They can access consumer reports that offer buying guides; Rosetta Stone offers language instruction and Heritage Quest offers genealogy tools.

“I think sometimes libraries can be the community’s best-kept secret in terms of what’s available that people don’t necessarily know about,” Serpico explained. 

All library card expiration dates are extended through June 2020 to ensure residents have access to the digital resources. Moorestown residents who would like to apply for a card can complete an online application available on the library’s website.

The library also works hard to make sure patrons have access to staff should any questions arise. It launched a chat window feature on the library website that allows patrons to ask questions in real time and enables reference staff to fill the same resource role they did when the library was open. 

Staff can also be reached via email at circulation@moorestownlibrary.org for library card inquiries, reference@moorestwonlibrayr.org for reference or technical questions and  jdunne@moorestownlibrary.org for questions regarding teen or children’s material. 

Serpico said her staff has been in constant contact since the shutdown and continues to come up with new ideas to reach residents. 

“It really has been inspiring to me as a new director and new person to this library to see how dedicated they are to serving the community,” she said.

To learn more, visit http://www.moorestownlibrary.org