The Carl Elliott Regional Library System is continuing to offer books and other services to the public even though all of its branches in Walker and Winston counties are closed.
Staff members have spent the past week accessing thousands of individual accounts to renew library cards and waive fines. The clean slate will open up Camellia Net, Alabama’s digital library, to all in the CERL system who have a library card. Libby, a free app used by library patrons, contains over 40,000 e-books, 7,000 audiobooks and 82 magazines subscriptions.
All library cards have been renewed through 2021. Patrons with titles already checked out are asked to hold onto them until the libraries reopen. Overdue fines are not being charged. Book drops at the branches are closed.
Though the branches are closed to the public, staff members are on-site at five of the system’s six branches to serve the public. Patrons of the Carbon Hill branch are asked to call the Carl Elliott Regional Library at 221-2568 if they need assistance.
In addition to Libby, the library system has been keeping track of other sources of free e-books, some of which would ordinarily require a subscription but are being offered for free because of the COVID-19 crisis. Examples include Tumblebooks, which are animated, talking picture books, TumbleMath and Capstone, which is offering free access to student resources through PebbleGo, PebbleGo Next and Capstone Interactive e-books.
For older readers, free titles are available through AudioBook Cloud, TeenBook Cloud and RomanceBook Cloud.
Links and instructions for accessing the various titles are listed on the library’s website, www.youseemore.com/cerl, and on the Carl Elliott Regional Library-Jasper Public Library Facebook page.
Only Libby requires a library card, and only Tumblebooks and Capstone requires a login.
The library’s popular StoryTime has moved online. Videos of staff members reading popular children’s book titles are being posted daily to the Facebook page, and videos of activities that children can do at home are in the works.
All meetings and programs at the libraries have been canceled until the summer reading program.
Local residents can also access a range of online databases through the library’s website. Popular examples include the Alabama Virtual Library, LearningExpress Library and HomeworkAlabama.org. The latter offers free online tutoring for K-12 students as well as adult learners. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, hours have been extended to 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.
Though some databases may require users to set up a free account, CamelliaNet is the only online database that will require a library card.
Those who have trouble accessing the Alabama Virtual Library can contact their local library to have a free card issued to them.
New library cards are not being issued at this time, though they may become available again in the future.