As more cities in North Texas declare a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19, offices are closing, restaurants are relying on carryon and delivery, and kids are staying home from school. NPR reports that nearly 1 in 5 households experiencing a layoff or a reduction in work hours. Events are being canceled, and no one knows when normal life will resume. Social distancing is only going to become more of a strain on our economy and our health.  

Public libraries may be closed–most until the end of the month at least–but they’re still a useful resource for families in need of free, easily accessible entertainment and activity.

Most cities, including Plano, Allen, Frisco, McKinney, which have declared a state of emergency have technically closed their libraries, canceling all programs and classes until at least March 27. However, their online resources are available, and patrons can access a variety of educational and entertainment options from wherever they are: from e-books, e-magazines, and educational resources, to classic movies, cartoons, and documentaries. A library card is required for access to most online resources. 

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Frisco, for example, has an excellent collection of over 50,000 20th century poems, as well as curated staff lists (stressed parents might want to check out the staff picks of books for bedtime).

Though its buildings are closed, the libraries in Plano are working on a system to allow patrons to pick up holds for physical items during regular library hours, meaning Plano library card holders can still check out books, videos, STEAM kits, and more.

McKinney advises that patrons may check out six ebooks at a time for 14 days. They also link to Project Gutenburg, which offers over 60,000 free ebooks like Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. It requires no library card to access it. They offer curbside material pickup, and offer over 160,000 eBooks to their patrons.

Most collections allow you to filter your search for your next page-turner by author, subject, series, and publication date, and librarians are still available to help you find what you need.

For more information, and to find your next favorite book, visit your city’s website for library details and digital collections.