OLEAN, NY — Olean Public Library Director Michelle La Voie said she knows from studying library history that libraries "tend to be at their busiest during times of economic crisis. So for us to be closed is terrible." 

As a precaution to the global coronavirus pandemic, the library has been closed physically since mid-March but has expanded services online. WiFi access is available outside the library 24/7; no password is required. Loan periods for materials have been extended; fines for overdue materials will be suspended until the library reopens. 

"We know that our duty is to be as visible as we possibly can be helpful to our community,” La Voie said.

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Accommodations made so far include adding more e-books to its catalog and hosting online the regularly scheduled on-site programs such as crafting, story times, knitting and crocheting meetings, ESL Conversation meetings, children’s and teens’ programs.

“We know at this time people are stuck in their homes lonely and bored,” La Voie said.

An "Asking a Farmer: Gardening Q&A" podcast, featuring Canticle Farms farm manager Mark Printz, also be available in April.

The library staff has been using primarily Facebook to keep connected to the community and also Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and the library website. She said library employees answer questions whenever they can and help people take out online materials.

Racheal Schultz, the tech librarian, said videos are available on Facebook. Some are uploaded to YouTube, and some are on Facebook Live.

The monthly newsletter containing the program schedule and policies during the temporary closure is available as a pdfpdf here.

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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