What We’ve Been Doing

MAY 15, 2020

From books to electronic resources, community events to virtual storytimes, and individual reference service to  Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting . . .

In coordination with Borough Hall, the library closed its doors and required staff to work remotely in mid-March, around the same time that the Governor of NJ signed an executive order shuttering public libraries across the state. Despite the limitations this presented for staff, they managed to immediately rally together to create a plan to completely redesign how they would interact with the Highland Park community, how they would provide information and services, and how they would maintain a semblance of sanity, routine, and positivity in the work to which they are so dedicated.

In addition to daily meetings with the Borough leadership team, HPPL staff meets twice each week in order to share ideas, brainstorm, troubleshoot, and collaborate. And we’ll continue to do this to ensure that we are able to provide the best possible service to our community — both now and when our doors eventually reopen when restrictions are lifted. We are actively preparing for expanding services to include things like the return of materials and distributions of holds through contact-less pick-up, but we must continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and our community members. We will continue to follow the guidelines of our state and local government as we create plans for a gradual reopening and expansion of services. Situations and timelines seem to change day-to-day, but we’ll keep you informed as we go, once plans are approved.

By working together, and incorporating feedback from our residents, we have been able to put together over 50 programs that have gathered over 1,400 people together to share high-quality virtual content. The library has offered programs ranging from Zumba instruction to live storytimes, cooking demonstrations, eLibrary tutorials, book discussions, and more. There are simple craft tutorials on the library’s Instagram (@hpplnj) and virtual art galleries and concerts from local HP talent posted on our Facebook page each week. And our favorite day of the week is when you share your own pictures with us from your experiences around your neighborhoods!

Library From Home

Highland Park residents are able to obtain a library card through an online form, and check out items from a full catalog of ebooks and audiobooks (including eLibrary, TumbleBooks, and Audio Book Cloud). Cardholders can freely access the NY Times online, Heritage Quest, and a wide range of educational databases. Here, you can also find access to Rosetta Stone, local career assistance, and a wealth of resources designed for students in Grades K-12 and college developed by public and school librarians called The Library is Open. Our librarians are regularly updating new free resources, educational activities, and virtual tours. And updated and quality resources related to public safety and COVID-19 are regularly being updated. You can find all this and more on the newly-created Library From Home webpage, all at your fingertips.

While we recognize how important physical books are to the core service of public libraries, we also believe that we are guided by ensuring access to quality information, as well as a deep commitment to bringing community together, both of which have become even more important during a time of uncertainty and social isolation. Even with our physical doors closed, the Highland Park Public Library is confident in its mission to support the welcoming spaces, engaging programs, and diverse collections that help make Highland Park a better place to live, learn, and work.

We encourage your feedback. General questions and comments are welcome at highlandparklib@gmail.com. You can also reach me directly at kjaggers@hpplnj.org. If you would like a phone call, simply email us your number and a good time to reach you.

Stay safe. Stay well. Keep learning, keep reading, and stay informed.

Kate Jaggers

Letter from the Director

MARCH 13, 2020

To our valued community,

As a high-traffic, well-loved, and essential community resource, Highland Park Public Library is working with local government to closely monitor the evolving status and potential risk of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for our patrons and staff. As one of the most highly utilized public spaces in our community, the library is a natural hub for residents to meet, borrow materials, and attend public events. 

While there have been no reported community spread of the coronavirus in Highland Park, the Borough is being extremely cautious, as the safety and health of everyone who lives in, works in, and visits Highland Park is our first priority. We encourage everyone who is unwell to stay home and rest. 

For the safety and health of all of our residents, Highland Park Public Library will be closed to the public beginning 5:00pm on Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 29, 2020. In addition, all programming has been postponed through April 12, 2020. It is our goal to maintain operations as much as possible while mitigating the risk to patrons. Staff will be available during the library’s posted operating hours to answer questions by phone (732-572-2750) and via email (adultref@hppl.org).

No fines will be assessed during this time. All due dates have been extended through mid-April. All holds will remain active until the library reopens. No physical books can be borrowed at this time, but all downloadable materials and virtual services remain available.

You can still access excellent library service from home. Visit the library’s website at www.hpplnj.org, where you can access the following for free. If you need a library card number to access these resources, please call us at 732-572-2750.

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 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 call us with any questions at 732-572-2750, or visit us online at www.hpplnj.org.

On behalf of Library Administration, the Board of Trustees, and the Borough of Highland Park, we thank you for your continued cooperation. Be assured that we are following national guidelines to keep our community as safe as possible during this time. Feel free to direct questions or concerns to me at any time by emailing kjaggers@hpplnj.org. Stay well.

 

Sincerely,

Kate Jaggers

Library Director