OTTUMWA — Ottumwa Library Director Sonja Ferrell announced Friday that the facility will remain closed through April 30.

Ferrell said library staff thought it was a good decision in consultation with local emergency response personnel. The library will extend due dates on any materials currently checked out until May 1.

Book clubs will meet online using an online meeting service called Zoom. Youth Services Librarian Allyson Kirking will post music and movement courses on the library’s FaceBook page.

“We are doing our best to share resources to that page for our patrons to utilize as well,” Ferrell said. “We are constantly brainstorming how we can best serve the community in these unique times. If you have a suggestion or idea please email me ... and I will do my best to see what we can do.”

Ferrell said Wi-Fi is another concern the staff has. They know some residents don’t have internet access. Employees have not seen an increase in Wi-Fi usage since the library closed, but there are some who continue to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi service during the library’s normal business hours. Residents can usually get a signal in their parking lot or on the library side of Central Park.

Music and Tumblebooks are other services, Ferrell said, staff continues to provide. Their music vendor Freegal extended their services to 24-hour streaming. Tumblebooks has also expanded to include more learning games for children and romance e-groups for adults.

During time of social distancing, Ferrell also suggested residents use audio books, an app called Novelist to get reading ideas and RB Digital, an app for online magazines.

Residents, she said, could also take the time to learn a new language at home using an app called Transparent Languages. Those who usually depend on Iowa Workforce Development for resume help in the library could use Brainfuse for job training and resume skills learning, and Gale for a host of research resources.

For any questions or concerns, Ferrell can be reached at 641-682-7563 ext 202 or by email at sferrell@ottumwapubliclibrary.org

Chiara Romero can be reached at cromero@ottumwacourier.com.

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