Coronavirus Impact: SF Bay Area libraries expand online services after closing

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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Libraries across the Bay Area have gone into high gear after closing due to novel coronavirus. They're reinventing themselves by offering new online services.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Libraries across the San Francisco Bay Area have gone into high gear after closing due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. They're reinventing themselves by offering new online services.

Twins Carissa and Mattea Kovaleski spend a lot of time these days, taking classes online. However, the 8-year-old's also used to go regularly to their local library in Half Moon Bay. Expanded online services from San Mateo County Libraries is filling the void as a result of its branches being closed.

"We have a wealth of homework help, early literacy tools, if you need arts and craft tools to do with your little ones, we have those tools as well and steps to help you learn a new language while you're home," said Katie Woods, communications manager.

More than half of the librarians and staff have been launching online experiences, such as storytime with library assistant Deidre Brill, a drawing class taught by Lynne Fetter, and this interactive, bilingual English-Spanish sing-along with community technology specialist Kenny Gabe.

RELATED: California libraries offering story time online to help children cope during coronavirus crisis

Mother of the twins, Karen Kovaleski, is enthusiastic about the new library focus that turns screen time into something instructive and engaging.

"Being able to transition to something that's hands-on, interactive, use their minds, use creativity, gets them excited, engaging like that as opposed to a passive, visual view of a movie is very big," she said.

Her daughters are looking forward to an online science program this week and help with homework. We asked them what kind of things they would like to look up online.

Mattea responded, "how long it takes to make a chapter book 'cause I kind of want to be a writer when I'm older."

RELATED: Free educational resources and activities for chidlren

In one week's time, the library staff has responded to over 800 texts. There have been more than 12,000 new users to the library's website over the past two weeks.

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