Update on Library Closure due to COVID-19

MARCH 16, 2020

As recommendations and reports are changing hour-by-hour with regard to the risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), your public library is prioritizing the health and safety of patrons and staff.

Following the lead of many other government and public agencies, Highland Park Public Library remains closed to the public for the time being. Staff will now only be available by email to provide reference and informational services. Please email us at highlandparklib@gmail.com or adultref@hpplnj.org, and we promise to reply within 24 hours.

We ask that you do NOT return any materials at this time. The outdoor book drop will be locked throughout the rest of the building closure. While the risk of transmission through surfaces is not extremely high, we are being as cautious as possible for the safety of library staff. All due dates have been extended through mid-April, with continued extensions forthcoming as necessary. There will be no fines charged during this time.

The library continues to provide many online resources. If you are a resident of Highland Park and do not have a library card, but would like to freely download ebooks and audiobooks, as well as access other valuable databases, please email us for a temporary card number. Keep your eye on our online newsletter and Facebook for more details about making the most of our virtual resources. (Share this message and encourage others to sign up for our online newsletter.)

As a reminder: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the World Health Organization, stress the importance of practicing social distancing and discontinuing large gatherings in order to slow the rate of transmission, lowering the number of active cases at one time. The simple act of closing our physical doors and keeping staff at home temporarily can help us avoid overwhelming the healthcare system. For a more detailed explanation, please visit flattenthecurve.com. The most current and best possible resource for all information related to COVID-19 still remains through the CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Please email us with any questions, or visit us online at www.hpplnj.org.

Thank you for your patience during a time of uncertainty. Please keep yourselves safe by staying home, limiting interactions with others, washing your hands, and taking care of each other in whatever ways you can.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources

Letter from the Library Director: March 16, 2020; March 13, 2020

Update from the Library Director: May 18, 2020

Details of phased Reopening Plan, approved by Library Board of Trustees, June 10, 2020

Update from the Library Director: June 14, 2020

State and Local Resources

New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub: The State of New Jersey has put together a list of resources about the COVID-19 virus including testing sites, signs and symptoms and FAQs about social services.  From this hub you can access COVID-19 specific unemployment information and information on employees that might be hiring during the crisis and much more.   https://covid19.nj.gov

The Department of Health 24-hour hotline for coronavirus-related questions and concerns: 1-800-222-1222

Highland Park Updates  – click the link for Highland Park specific information.

COPE Program– HP Residents in need of assistance from the COPE program should send an email to HPCOPES@hpboro.com or call 732/819-0052. Please include your phone number in any message.

The COPE program, overseen by members of the Borough’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Highland Park Department of Community Services, assists residents in need by delivering groceries to those who can not or should not leave their homes, checking in with isolated residents by phone or email, and arranging transportation to medical appointments.

What the program needs now is financial support, to underwrite the cost of groceries for those who can not afford them and transportation fees when outside services are used. Checks (payable to “Borough of Highland Park,” with “COPE/Covid-19” written in the memo) can be mailed to the HP Community Center at 220 South Sixth Ave or placed in the exterior mailbox.  Donations in the form of credit cards can be made through the recreation department’s online software .

Middlesex County Updates

Resources from the New Jersey State Library

NJ Dept of Health information for schools and businesses                                                                 www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_schoolbusiness.shtml

NJ Parent Link – Navigate Parenthood, Navigate New Jersey   Updates on Covid-19 and many other topics geared to parents and caregivers.

NJ Division of Taxation- following the federal government the state is working to extend the filing until July 15.  Check their website for up to date information.  https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/

Federal and Other Resources

MEDLINEPLUS Consumer health site of the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus in Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese

Centers for Disease Control- CDC pages with links on how disease is spread, symptoms, prevention. The site also provides updates including U.S. and global hotspot locations and travel risks.                                                     www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization- FAQs from WHO, the United Nations public health agency (available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese)

Internal Revenue Service- The IRS has information on Coronavirus tax relief.  The deadline to file your Federal Income tax has been extended until July 15, 2020.                                                                          https://www.irs.gov/

Other Resources

End of Life Care– The New Jersey’s Quality Healthcare institute COYL program has a digital toolkit with some great resources to help open up the discussion on End Of Life care and make the topic of advance care planning much more comfortable for all.  Five Wishes, a great document that helps you prepare for the end of life is being provided for free.

2020 Census– Take 10 minutes to answer the confidential questions that will direct billions of federal funds to us in the next 10 years for important things like, health care support, family planning, education and other public services.

Announcing Our New Director

Kate JaggersHighland Park Public Library Names Kate Jaggers New Director

 Open House – Sunday March 22 from 2-4pm

The Board of Trustees of the Highland Park Public Library today announced that Katherine M. Jaggers has been appointed Director of the Library. She succeeds Jane Stanley, who retired in December.

“Kate Jaggers brings a sterling record of improving library services, engaging community members and other stakeholders, and managing the increasingly complex operations of today’s library, all of which is central to our mission,” said Library Board President Helen Rovner. “She has first-hand experience building budgets, managing fundraising efforts and contributing to effective communication and marketing strategies—skills that will be invaluable as we pursue an ambitious strategic plan.”

On March 22, from 2 to 4 pm, the Library will host an open house to which all members of the public are invited to meet the new director.

“I’m honored to be joining an institution that prides itself on providing the kind of welcoming space, diverse programs, rich collections and up-to-date technology that help make Highland Park such a great place to live,” said Ms. Jaggers. “And I’m excited about the opportunity to work closely with the community, library patrons and the dedicated staff as we embark on the next chapter in the Library’s commitment to excellent public service.”

Prior to taking the helm of the Highland Park Library, Ms. Jaggers served as Associate Director of Piscataway Public Library in Piscataway, NJ. She began work there in 2011, holding a series of positions of increasing responsibility, including Senior Librarian, Adult/Young Adult Department; Supervising Librarian, Head of User Services; and Interim Library Director.

Ms. Jaggers’ professional experience also includes serving as Young Adult Librarian at Franklin Lakes Public Library, Library Associate at the Paterson Free Public Library, and Library Assistant at Clifton Public Library. She is active in the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), currently serving on its Executive Board. The daughter of a children’s librarian, she earned a Master of Information and Library Science degree from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Psychology degree from the College of New Jersey.

Library Receives Funding to Develop Youth Coding Programs

Libraries Ready to CodeHighland Park Public Library received $500 from the American Library Association (ALA) to help plan and implement coding activities during Computer Science Education (CS Ed) Week 2018 (December 3-9) and beyond. Highland Park Public Library is one of 250 school and public libraries around the country to receive this micro-funding from Libraries Ready to Code, an initiative of the American Library Association sponsored by Google.

Coordinator of Adult Services, Sherry Johnson said, “We are very excited to be involved in this program. Libraries should be at the forefront of computer science because we have the ability to reach people that don’t have access to Coding in their homes and schools. This type of program from ALA and Google will help libraries reach out to people who need training for today’s job market. ”

“ALA is pleased to provide micro-funding to Highland Park Public Library and other Ready to Code libraries,” said ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo. “We hope this micro-funding will not only generate enthusiasm for CS Ed Week, but spark year-round programming to develop critical thinking and digital skills youth can draw on over a lifetime.”

Highland Park Public Library will jumpstart CS Ed Week with a program on Monday, December 3 at 4:30, but the library will highlight computer science all week and we will continue to offer computer science programming in the future. For more information on Monday’s program or to register contact Sherry Johnson or Karen Jarzabski at adultref@hpplnj.org or 732-572-2750.

Earth Day 2018 with Artist Coleen Tyler

Artist Coleen Tyler helped families with grade school children assemble a window wave from single use plastic bags at a library environmental workshop. The recycled art work they created, inspired by Japanese Artist Hokusai, is on display in the Children’s Room. Many plastic bags are swept into our rivers and oceans and often end up in the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, which is made up of 80% plastic bottles, bags, and other products. The community worked together to spread awareness of this environmental danger. Check out our Big Wave in the Children’s Room and borrow The Plastic Ocean, an environmental film available at the library.

Coleen Tyler and big plastic wave

An Engagement at the Library

Goldberg engagement
Sylvie said “Yes”. Benjy Goldberg asked his girlfriend Sylvie Sapadin to accompany him to an art exhibit at the library. With the help of Coordinator of Adult Services Sherry Johnson, he was able to arrange the room with their photos. It’s now official, and the library has its first engagement!