At Essex Public Library, checking out a Wi-Fi hotspot may soon become as routine as checking out a book. The library is now lending Wi-Fi hotspots to help address the needs of Essex’s residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotspots allow users to connect a laptop, smartphone, or tablet to the internet. The portable devices will work almost anywhere.
Library Director Dana Smook says the program, made possible by funding from the C.A.R.E.S. Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, is designed to help get residents connected to the internet to perform essential tasks, even when they are staying home.
“Our new normal includes a lot of distance learning, remote working, and online tasks,” says Smook. “The pandemic has been especially hard on those who can’t access the internet from home. This hotspot lending program will help people get connected so they can perform essential tasks online.”
During the last year, Essex Public Library has launched new programs to serve the community while taking precautions against COVID-19. The hotspot program addresses the needs of those who struggle with a reliable internet connection at home. Internet access is a major challenge for many Essex residents, especially for those in the most rural areas.
“It’s clearer than ever that we need a sustainable plan for digital inclusion across our county,” says Smook. “But until then, hotspots can help connect some homes to the internet.”
The Wi-Fi service provided by the devices relies on cell tower technology and coverage. You can use the hotspot to connect to the internet wherever there is Verizon cell phone service.
Library patrons may borrow a hotspot device for seven days. Anyone over age 18, with an Essex Public Library card in good standing, can borrow one. The devices can be borrowed through curbside service. To learn more about the hotspot lending program, visit the Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Guidelines and FAQor call the library at (804) 443-4945.
Keep track of every day you spend time reading between Friday, January 1 and Sunday, February 28. For every ten days you read and log, you’ll earn a virtual badge and a virtual ticket to enter the grand prize drawing. This program is open to children from newborns through age 12. Create an account online at eplva.beanstack.org, and enroll in the Winter Reading Challenge beginning Fri., January 1. If you participated in Beanstack last year, log in to check your password and update your phone number and email address.
Teens & Adults
Teens and adults can win prizes for reading and reviewing books on the Beanstack Tracker app or website by registering at eplva.beanstack.org. Read and log at least 5 books to be eligible for the grand prize drawing. There will be two prize drawings, one for teens 13-17, and one for adults 18+. This year, our Winter Reading Challenge is dedicated to diversity in books. We encourage you to select books by authors from a variety of backgrounds. For inspiration, check out our reading lists for #OwnVoices teen books and diverse adult fiction.
Now it’s time to get cozy with some inspirational books. Happy reading!
Curbside Pickup Only, with Computer Use by Appointment
Starting Monday, December 14
Due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, Essex Public Library will be offering curbside pickup only starting Monday, December 14. The library building will be closed to traffic except for computer use by appointment.
Call us from the parking lot when you arrive to pick up your prints.
Put your payment in the box and retrieve your print the table in front of the library.
To use curbside copying and faxing:
Fill out the faxing/copying form available on the table outside of the library.
Put your documents in a provided envelope, along with your payment, and call us to let us know you need a copying/fax job completed.
Leave your document on the table and we will retrieve it, then return your copies/fax to the table when they are done.
To make an appointment for computer use:
Call (804) 443-4945 to make an appointment to use a computer.
Computer use sessions are made in 25- or 55-minute increments.
Face coverings are required during your computer use appointment must cover your nose and mouth during your entire visit. If you are unable to wear a face covering, we can arrange curbside accommodations for you.
Because of social distancing guidelines, our staff is unable to provide assistance at the computer at this time.
To return borrowed materials:
Please use the outdoor book drop to return materials. Returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours, and there will be a delay before items are removed from your account. We are currently not charging late fees for materials.
We are also offering these services to help you stay connected during this difficult time:
Join us this summer to “Imagine Your Story!” Our 2020 Summer Learning Program is going virtual. Families are invited to participate in online reading challenges (for all ages!), virtual performances, and “Take and Make” activity packs for kids, available for curbside pickup at the library. Simply register for the reading challenge through Beanstack, then stop by the library and give us a call at 804-443-4945. We will bring your Take and Make bags out to you for contactless curbside pickup.
All of our performances this summer are happening online. Our presenters have worked hard to create special events, just for us! As performance videos become available, we’ll include the links below.
Jonathan Austin: Magician, Juggler, and More!
Imagine how he does that! See for yourself, and learn a few tricks of your own while you’re at it. Here’s Jonathan Austin: Magician, Juggler, and More! For ages 6 and up. Watch this performance on YouTube.
New Moon Theater Presents “Tales from the Good Earth” With two tricksters, a magical lake, and an epic battle between the weeds and the vines, Julie Kurzava takes us on a fantastic journey through traditional folklore takes from Canada, Estonia, Liberia and Laos. Ages 4 and up. Click here to watch this performance.
ScienceTellers Present “Dragons: Return of the Ice Sorceress”
A long time ago in a faraway world, two brave villagers go on a daring journey to release the dragons and save the kingdom from the Evil Ice Sorceress. When things don’t go as planned, however, they might need to look to themselves (and science!) for the answer. For ages 6 and up. Click here to watch this performance (Available through August 31, 2020).
Brightstar Theater Presents: Once Upon a Time
Join Lenny and Mable, “the greatest actors in the world,” as they bring classic tales to the stage. Dance at the ball with Cinderella and challenge the giant with Jack and the Beanstalk. Fun for everyone who’s young at heart! For ages 4 and up. Click here to watch this performance. Available through July 27, 2020.