Tennessee Public Libraries Continue to Serve Despite Building Closures

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
cleaning a book

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many public libraries continue to serve their communities and in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, are offering several online resources for learning at home, research and entertainment.

“Local libraries provide vital services to their communities,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Thanks to the Tennessee State Library and Archives expansive online resources and the dedicated librarians across the state that have found innovative ways to still serve their communities.” 

Through curbside pickup services, some libraries are still loaning out books and materials after sanitizing them following CDC guidelines and letting them sit at least 24 hours before lending them again.  

In Maryville, children can attend story time with songs and a simple craft project via Facebook Live. The library in White Pine has a cart outside with free puzzles, paperback books and some cleaning supplies available to community members. 

While in Pigeon Forge, people who need to file for unemployment can visit the library, don a mask and enter the library a few at a time to use the computers.  Librarians, also wearing a mask and gloves, assist if needed.  

Many libraries are still offering free wi-fi. Patrons can access the internet on their smartphone, laptop, or tablet from the safety of their car in the library parking lot. Libraries are also waiving overdue fines for anyone unable to return books and materials.

“Libraries are anchor institutions. In times like these, when the seas of life are rough, we need our anchors,” said State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill. “Librarians are talented public servants who use their skills to meet community needs. It’s amazing to see their dedication and creativity during this public health crisis.”

Libraries across the state continue to provide online resources around the clock as well. The Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) gives Tennessee residents access to over 400,000 magazines, journals, newspapers, essays, e-books, podcasts, videos, homework help and more. Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. offers more than 100,000 digital e-books, audiobooks, and videos to patrons of regional libraries for free. The TumbleBook Library provides a collection of animated talking picture books, read-along books, e-books, quizzes, puzzles, lesson plans and educational games for children.

For more information on the resources provided by the Tennessee State Library and Archives visit sos.tn.gov/tsla.  To find out what services your local library is currently offering call, visit their website or Facebook page.