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Library system moves child services online

Because the doors to the physical library are closed, the Pearl River County Library system is expanding its online presence to help families access story time, e-books and craft ideas from home.

The library’s online programming includes a new blog for children’s programs that launched on Friday and a Facebook group where library patrons can connect with the library and each other, said Megan Miller, who oversees programming for children at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.

“We had been tossing the idea around for a while, but this was the kick start we needed to get it up and running,” said Miller.

The project is an ongoing team effort between library staff at both county libraries, including Angela Gatskie, who oversees children’s programs at the Poplarville Library. Library staff contacted librarians from across the country for help and ideas about how to make the library accessible online, said Miller.

The library also has online resources for adults and teens. Hoopla allows anyone with a library card to check out several digital copies of books per month and the RBdigital website allows library patrons to read free magazines.

The Online Kids Club can be found at the library system’s website pearlriver.lib.ms.us under the “What’s Happening” tab. The website includes craft projects, links to virtual tours of museums and national parks, and videos of storybooks being read aloud.

Right now the library is sharing storybook videos that were already available, but library staff are working on filming and uploading their own storybook videos.

“The biggest challenge for me was actually creating a website, because the last website editing I did was in the age of Myspace,” said Miller.

The PRCLS Online Kids Club Facebook group also has videos of craft projects and fun educational materials, like a video visit to Hippo Cove at the Cincinnati Zoo. Library patrons can share their crafts or make requests for specific storybooks to be read.

The Facebook group is private, so participants must join the group to see the posts.

“If you miss us and miss our children’s programs come check us out,” said Miller. “If anyone has suggestions for stories they’d like to hear, they can go to the blog’s contact page or join the Facebook group and make a post there. I’d love to hear from our patrons.”

While ABC Mouse is only accessible from library computers, other learning resources that kids can access online are available at the library’s resources page, such as Khan Academy, said Miller.

The library has posted Easter crafts and stories and patrons can expect to see spring themed stories and crafts online soon.