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Letter: Turn to your local library

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

In this time of uncertainty and social distancing, we are all doing the best we can with the time we are given. This is very true of your Austin Public Library staff. Libraries are meant to be full of community members and people looking for information, entertainment and social interaction. So it is sad to see the aisles empty, the books waiting on the shelves, computers dark.

However, not all is quiet. Library staff members are working hard to identify current and future community needs and meet them where we can. Following is a list of ways we can help you now even while our doors are closed:

• Information/Reference – Need a phone number? Not sure if your favorite restaurant is making deliveries? Worried about the overdue book sitting on your kitchen table? You can reach us by phone, Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 433-2391, or online at our website www.austinpubliclibrary.org (click on “contact us). (P.S. All due dates have been adjusted and no fines will be given while we are closed to the public! Hang on to your items! It is fine – I promise!)

• Overdrive/Libby- Have you read every physical book in your house? Twice? Now might be the time to try an ebook or audiobook. Go to our website, click on “Online Resources” for information on how to access the service even if you don’t currently have a library card. Questions? Call us!

• While you are on our website, check out all our other online resources: learn a new language for free with Mango, brush up on your computer skills with the LearningExpress Library, check out the tools for job searches, or genealogy searches…if you have the time, we have the link!

• Could you or someone you know use a friendly phone call? Library staff will be making calls to community members soon. To be added to the phone list, please call 1-507-433-2391.

• Don’t forget to fill out your Census form! It can be done online, in paper form, or over the phone. Every person counts! If you have any questions, please call us.

Stay home! Stay safe! We will be here — books alphabetized, new programs planned, computers ready — eager to see you in person on the other side.

Julie Clinefelter

Director, Austin Public Library