From storytime videos on Facebook to cool links, libraries engage and entertain

Mary Anne Wood, youth services coordinator at London Public Library, reads “Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale” by Lisa Campbell Ernst via a video posted on Facebook. Wood is posting pre-recorded videos and hosting live interactive programs on the library’s Facebook page as a way to engage and stay in touch with library patrons during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order.

(Posted April 6, 2020)

Libraries are an excellent resource when it comes to finding ways to stay occupied while sheltering in place during Ohio’s COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order.

The Madison Messenger asked Madison County’s libraries to provide suggestions for resources available through their websites and/or social media pages. They obliged with ideas revolving around different themes.

Mount Sterling Public Library went with ancestry and genealogy. London Public Library shared the various ways they are holding programs and sharing information through Facebook. Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library in West Jefferson offered up school-age educational ideas. Plain City Public Library’s theme is “Feed your curiosity.”

Ancestry and Genealogy

Mount Sterling Public Library announced that Ancestry Library Edition is now available for free with a library card during the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, this service is free only within the library. Now it, along with HeritageQuest, can be accessed at home.

Why not try it? Genealogy can become an obsessive hobby that will help pass the time. Fold3 and the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps do not require a library card. Another excellent genealogical resource is This site does not require a library card but does require creation of a personal account.

Click on the “Genealogy” tab at the top of the library’s home page, Then enter your library card number. The next screen should allow searching in the Ancestry database. HeritageQuest works the same way. If HeritageQuest asks for a password or pin number, it is usually the last four digits of the phone number you gave to the library when you signed up for your library card.

For details or assistance, e-mail

Fun on Facebook

“We’re putting anything and everything for people to see and do on our Facebook page,” said Mary Anne Wood, youth services coordinator at London Public Library.

That includes pre-recorded videos and live programs that Wood is creating and hosting. Follow London Public Library on Facebook and watch for the following:

  • Storytime–10 a.m. on Tuesdays;
  • Music and Movement–10 a.m. on Thursdays;
  • Family Game Night–6:30 p.m. on Mondays, live play based on the “Bring Your Own Book” game;
  • Vote for Your Favorite–on random days and times, Wood reads two children’s books and asks listeners to vote for their favorite;
  • Book Talks–on random days and times, Wood makes book recommendations for young and old, choosing from books available through Hoopla, a digital resource for books, movies and more.

Wood also is posting “Go Noodle” episodes, educational workouts for elementary school age children.

“I’m really excited (about the Facebook programming) because I really miss doing programs and seeing everybody,” she said. “Even though I can’t see them, at least they can see me and hopefully that will bring a little happiness to them.”

Visit for other remote resources available through the library.


With schools closed until at least May 1, learning is taking place at home. To help students and parents, Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library in West Jefferson put together a list of popular online educational resources–and all of them are free.

All grade levels (Pre-K through 12)

  • Khan Academy–Instructional videos and practice exercises on dozens of topics suitable for a wide range of ages, including adults;
  • Nova–Full episodes of the popular television series, short-form videos, educational blogs, and a special at-home learning section with videos on everything from astronomy to physics; and
  • ReadWriteThink–Free materials for reading and language arts instruction.

Pre-K and Elementary

  • ABCya–Games and apps that make learning fun;
  • Sesame Street–Interactive games, videos and art projects; and
  • Starfall–Learning for little ones through games, songs, animation and more.

Elementary and Middle School

  • PBS Kids–Daily activities and tips to help kids play and learn at home;
  • Math Games–Math games and skill practice; and
  • MetKids–Interactive map, videos, time machine and creative projects tied into New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For links to these resources, go to and look for the “Free Educational Resources” graphic in the upper righthand corner of the home page. For additional information, call (614) 879-8448.

Feed Your Curiosity

Download the Plain City Public Library app on your mobile device and cruise the library’s digital collection.

Under “Watch and Learn,” visit to discover a new hobby, from basic coding to graphic design, in bite-sized courses that are easy to follow. There are even singing lessons.

All you need to access thousands of courses and videos for free is an Ohio public library card. Anyone who does not have a card to one of Madison County’s awesome libraries can get a temporary digital card at

For crafters and creative types, check out Creative Bug for a variety of how-to projects in many different mediums. For the young ones, Bookflix offers entertaining stories with Scholastic books and videos.

For details about any of these services, call (614) 873-4912 or visit

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