Los Alamos County Library staff hold a virtual meeting Tuesday morning. Courtesy/LAC
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
The doors of the Los Alamos County’s libraries may be locked and their interiors dark but looks can be deceiving.
The fact is the pandemic shuttered the physical buildings but online, the Los Alamos County Library System is operating at full steam with a multitude of services. Library patrons can check out the libraries’ offerings at their webpage.
“I would like for the public to know that even though we are physically closed, there are a number of resources available online in digital format,” Library Manager Eileen Sullivan said. “And our library staff is working behind the scenes to increase access to our eBooks and audiobooks and other digital services.”
Online, library patrons can find anything from streaming music and movies to eBooks and eMagazines.
Sullivan said the library provides access to a variety of electronic content through Overdrive and Hoopla. Plus, patrons can explore RBDigital, which is an online magazine collection.
The library just added movies to OverDrive. On Overdrive, patrons can check out eBooks for 14 days, audiobooks for 21 days and streaming videos for five days. Additionally, they can borrow up to seven items and put up to eight items on hold.
If they are checking out material on Hoopla, then eBooks, audiobooks and comics can be borrowed up to 21 days. Movies and TV shows can be streamed up to three days, and music for seven days.
As for RBDigital, there are more than 54 magazines available to borrow and there is no limit on how many can be checked out each month. For Hoopla content, patrons can borrow up to eight items per month. Sullivan said this was increased from the usual four items per month.
Additionally, she said that library staff are issuing temporary library cards by phone to those who haven’t applied for a card prior to the shutdown.
Sullivan said the libraries have other services available online. She said the library system is hosting a fun online challenge called Books Gone Viral Bingo Challenge. It encourages participants to try out various activities such as reading a poetry anthology, playing a board game and hosting a video chat. When an activity is completed, participants mark on their “bingo sheet”.
Once a row on the sheet is complete, they are encouraged to take a selfie with it and post it on the County’s Community Services Department Facebook page.
For students who are homeschooling during the school closures, Sullivan said there are numerous resources to assist with schoolwork at any age, including online homework and tutoring help through Brainfuse. She added there also is Kids Information Bits, which provides age-appropriate magazines and reference that are specifically geared towards children.
Plus, patrons can access anything from Mango Connect to learn a new language to Heritage Quest to research their families’ roots.
Sullivan said the library system’s online services are popular.
“Definitely,” she said, “We are seeing an increase in electronic checkouts.”
Sullivan added having the library’s services available to the public, especially now, is important.
“I think this is a particularly unusual time we are going through and there is a lot of uncertainty and anything our library can do to continue to serve our public and community is valuable,” she said. “I think people’s needs vary greatly. Some need entertainment and distraction … other people have very specific information needs – whether homeschooling a child, learning a new skill, or staying informed about our current crisis and I think it is important for us to be present and available to offer services to the community during this time.”
For questions, information or assistance, library staff is available to help. Sullivan said a librarian is at the library 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Patrons can call 505.662.8250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.