Although Whatcom County Library System buildings are closed, community members can still access the library’s extensive, free digital resources online. And, beginning Monday, March 23, library staff will answer patron questions daily from 1-5 p.m. via phone, email and online chat.
A library card is required to access digital services. It’s easy to apply for a card online at www.wcls.org/getacard.
Digital content (www.wcls.org/digital) includes eBooks and eAudiobooks; databases; streaming movies, music, and children’s educational programs; newspapers and magazines from around the world, including the Bellingham Herald; Mango interactive language instruction app; and professional training videos via Lynda.com. “We’re adding more eBooks and eAudiobooks to our collection, and many of our online partners are expanding services to help people who are at home and looking for enriching or entertaining experiences,” says WCLS Executive Director Christine Perkins. As an example, the popular genealogy and family history site Ancestry.com, which library card holders can typically access only at a library branch, is now available for at-home use.
Beginning Monday, March 23 and continuing until further notice, patrons who need help accessing online services or have other questions can talk with library staff 1-5 p.m. daily. Dial 360-305-3600 during that time or follow links from wcls.org to reach library staff via email or online chat. “We can suggest good books or movies, help people login to online library services, set up their eBook readers, and answer reference questions,” Perkins says. “We also welcome calls from our library regulars and other members of the public who would just like to check in. We care about everyone in our communities.”
She adds, “In the coming days, we’ll be working on some virtual storytimes by our local librarians, and preparing some helpful guides on where to find assistance for your family or for your small business. Visit wcls.org often as we will be updating it whenever we have more information to share.”
In accordance with public health guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, WCLS closed library buildings to the public on Monday, March 16. The closure affects all 10 WCLS library branches in rural Whatcom County, the Bookmobile, and the Administrative Services building on Northwest Drive. The library system has also closed its book drops and has discontinued until further notice delivery of library materials to homebound individuals and to the Whatcom County jail. Patrons are asked to hold on to their library materials until library buildings reopen. Due dates have been extended. There are never overdue fines. Library events and meeting room reservations have been postponed until further notice. For more information about library services and operations, visit wcls.org/info.