Chattanooga Public Library Responds To COVID-19 With Online Cards, Virtual Programs, Mask Production

Friday, March 27, 2020

All Chattanooga Public Library branches have been closed to the public since Saturday, March 14, but the librarians have been anything but quiet. 

Immediately after closing the doors, Executive Director Corinne Hill ordered all fines suspended and due dates extended until reopening. Shortly after, updates were made to the library card process, and now new patrons can get their library cards through email and instantly access over 500,000 ebooks, audiobooks, comics, movies and music. Yet, as any Chattanoogan knows, CPL offers far more than reading materials.

CPL on Saturday released on Facebook a video version of its popular Toddler Time program. Since then, the Library has posted Preschool Storytime, Baby Bounce and Sew What Kids videos, bringing some of its most popular programs into homes locally and nationally. More videos are in the works, with plans to offer daily early learning videos, more crafting tutorials, book reviews and STEAM-related content. 

Many of you might be asking, what about all those high-tech tools on the Downtown Library’s 4th Floor? “We can assure you, they are not gathering dust,” said Ms. Hill. “After researching what was needed and who was organizing efforts with local health care providers, we have teamed up with the Public Education Foundation to produce mask and shield parts with our 3D printers.”

In addition to plastic materials, CPL has also deployed its sewing machines to staff members working from home. These will be used to make fabric masks for Chattanooga Kidney Centers, and any other health organizations who request them. 

Ms. Hill encourages the public to stay updated through the Updates, FAQ and Resources page at chattlibrary.org, as well as CPL’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. “Our staff are finding and sharing good, free resources to help kids and adults make the most of their time at home,” said Ms. Hill. “And, you can still call us with questions. Our staff is available to answer your calls Monday - Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at 643-7700.” 


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