Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and in response to the current shelter in place orders, the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library will be adding new online storytimes for the community to help little ones and families while away their time.

These storytimes will be done via Facebook Live on Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:15 a.m., with another held at 6 p.m. as a family time storytime.

Library director Lisa Youngblood said in an email correspondence, “We want to encourage children and parents during this uncertain time. We know that they miss library programs, and we miss seeing our patrons as well.”

To give a better example of what to expect for the online storytimes, Youngblood explained, “Our Live storytimes look very much like our other storytimes. We have been given permission by some publishers to provide live storytimes at this time.”

However, she did say that due to copyright restrictions the storytimes may not always be able to be archived for viewing at a later date, though research into this is ongoing. With permission, they may be able to provide some of the videos for weeks or even months after posting for viewing.

Just as with the storytimes that are held in the library, online storytimes aren’t just about the story; the same songs and rhyme times are there, as well as informational material, featuring children’s librarian Amanda Hairston, youth health and program coordinator Destinee Barton, library clerk Eunice Myers, and even Youngblood herself.

Youngblood said to expect to see, for example, “Destinee and Amanda do a hand washing song while they are in lab coats. I speak to children about their feelings during the time of uncertainty and then lead viewers in an unusual version of If You’re Happy and You Know It. Destinee leads us in several versions of Head, and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes including one in Spanish and one sort of jazzy.”

In addition, Youngblood said, “The Library will be starting a series of “Choose Your Own Adventure” chapter book readings that will be available online on our YouTube channel and our Facebook.” These books are good for any age (even adults love them!)

Youngblood explained, “One of our talented readers will share one chapter per week. We will invite our community to vote for the choice that will lead us to the next chapter.

“Look for that first chapter to be made available Monday, March 30,” she said. Though the exact title won’t be revealed until we unveil the first reading, some possible titles are ‘Project UFO,’ ‘Moon Quest,’ and ‘House of Danger.’ Written by R.A. Montgomery, the Choose Your Own Adventure books engage readers by placing them in the middle of the action.”

Voting will take place on the library’s Facebook page; patrons can also email votes to reference@harkerheights.gov.

Youngblood and her staff have also uploaded variety of fun and informational videosto the library’s YouTube page.

Here people can watch Barton and other staff members get moving and grooving to “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” (in which Myers teaches a version in Spanish), participate in a special Music Time with Youngblood herself, and now watch Barton teach children and parents how to make their own musical egg shakers. They will continue to add content, so be on the lookout.

The videos can be accessed at https://m.youtube.com/user/CityofHarkerHeights, and the library’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/harkerheightspubliclibrary/.

Keep checking back for new storytimes and new video content until the library reopens for business.

Finally, library clerk Rose Ramon said in a recent email, “Our Virtual Library is available 24/7 and your library card grants you access to a variety of resources like eBooks and e-Audiobooks, research databases, online writing labs, craft centers, and more.

“If a person does not currently have a library card, we are creating temporary library cards that last until 1 month after the library reopens for public use.” The temporary cards are good for use online and can become permanent after the library reopens by bringing in a photo ID and proof of residency.

“We want to thank our community for understanding and encourage them to use our digital resources and check out our Facebook page for fun videos, library information, and more!” Ramon said.

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