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Virtual programming available for all ages

By Staff | Jul 14, 2020


While the Captiva Memorial Library remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patrons missing those in-person activities only need to hop online to find something of interest.

The Lee County Library System is providing virtual programs for babies to adults.

“We recognized the fact that we were unable to offer in-person programming because the libraries were closed,” Youth Services Coordinator Amy-Jane McWilliam said of the systemwide closures in mid-March, noting that officials did not know when the branches would reopen and provide activities again.

“A lot of people rely on the library for programming and services,” she added.

McWilliam pointed out the youth activities.

“We grow up with these families, we’re a constant part of the family,” she said. “Parents still wanted their children to see a familiar face – having that familiar face provided some sort of stability.”

So, the library system implemented some virtual programming.

“We’re doing a few things,” McWilliam said.

“Stay At Home Storytime” is for the youngest patrons, while “Virtual Programming for Kids” with Page Turner Adventures is for K-8. Also, adults and teens can check out the Gale Interactive Courses.

“We want to provide as much as safely possible,” she said. “We want to provide valuable content.”

Plus, the programming is offered at no cost; a library card is needed for the Gale courses.

“All of our programs are always free,” McWilliam said.

Stay At Home Storytime takes place on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. via the library’s YouTube page. Designed for babies through children ages 5 or 6, the program involves stories, rhymes and songs.

“There are a lot of benefits to storytime, but the main benefit is kindergarten readiness,” she said, explaining that the activities in each session help to develop a child’s motor and literacy skills. “And it’s something they can watch over and over again, which is nice because children do like repetition.”

Early literacy tips for parents and caregivers are also shared during the program.

Sponsored by the Southwest Florida Library Network, Virtual Programming for Kids is a daily video shared Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. on the library’s site for school-aged children and tweens.

“We’ve had live shows with them before in our libraries,” McWilliam said of Page Turner Adventures. “They have comedy performances, musical guests, author visits, crafts, and recipes – all for kids.”

Each video is available to access for approximately 24 hours.

“There’s one new program every day,” she said.

McWilliam noted that students with school-issued Chromebooks can access the Website.

In selecting virtual programs and online courses, safety is a top priority.

“Online safety is paramount,” she said. “We want to make sure what we’re providing is safe for children. That’s one thing that we take very seriously.”

For adults and even teens, they can check out the Gale Interactive Courses.

“There’s such a wide range of courses you can take,” McWilliam said, explaining that every one is interactive and six weeks long, with most of the courses starting at the beginning of the month.

“Learn to play guitar, write a novel, learn how to use software,” she added.

The courses are led by an instructor, and students receive a certificate at the end.

Patrons are encouraged to hop online and see what interests them.

“The great thing about some of these programs is they are interactive. People can ask questions, get responses,” McWilliam said. “These are also reliable resources. You know these are vetted resources.”

“And they are free,” she added. “So we are a good resource to start off with.”

For Stay At Home Storytime, visit www.youtube.com/user/lclslibteam1.

For Virtual Programming for Kids, visit www.leegov.com/library/summervideo.

For the Gale Interactive Courses, visit www.leegov.com/library/online and select “Reference E-Sources,” then “All Resources.”

For more information, call 239-479-INFO (4636) or visit www.leelibrary.net.

While closed, the Captiva Memorial Library is offering contact-less curbside pickup on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the book return site is open to drop off checked-out materials.

The island branch is at 11560 Chapin Lane, Captiva.