Monmouth County Library continues to serve residents through E-Library

The 24/7 open hours of the Monmouth County E-Library remain active and popular with
members during the shutdown of all branches of the Monmouth County Library during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.

The library headquarters in Manalapan and all members and branches of the Monmouth County system remain closed in response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order No. 107, but staff is available by phone and email to assist with information or to provide technical support for the use of the library’s online services, according to the press release.

Book drops remained closed and due dates will be extended after library branches are able to open again. Fines for delinquent returns have been waived during the closure and users with books are asked not to leave any items outside any of the library doors.

Library users have access to numerous resources and are encouraged to use them to access any of the thousands of e-books and audio books, as well as Kanopy, where movies, documentaries, international films and other recreational programs and entertainment are available, according to the press release.

The library offers Libby by Overdrive, an application (app) which makes numerous selections available for reading and listening pleasure.

Kanopy entertainment is also available simply with a library card at no cost and databases for children are also available, including story books, read-alongs, fiction and nonfiction, videos, language learning, puzzles and other games.

For residents of municipalities that are members or branches of the Monmouth County Library who do not have library membership, new library cards can still be secured while the libraries are closed, according to the press release.

Interested persons are asked to send an email to mcl@monmouthcountylib.org and to include their name, telephone number and an attached image of identification that includes the applicant’s name and street address, preferably a current valid driver’s license.

When approved, the card will be valid for three months. Once libraries are permitted to reopen, new applicants can visit their local library branch to validate and pick up their physical library card. The process is available for adults, not juvenile patrons during this time, according to the press release.

For library members whose cards are about to expire before June 30, the cards will be temporarily extended through July 2. Once the library reopens, the user should visit a branch to validate and fully renew their membership.

Judi Tolchin, director of the Monmouth County Library, said, “Our services are so essential and our facilities’ closure has created an expansion of use for online informational resources by our patrons.

“The library has worked diligently to provide accessible digital resources 24/7 from our website as we have in the past. However, as our buildings are closed, more of our users have migrated to our electronic collections and usage has substantially increased,” she said.

The Monmouth County Library offers more than 34,000 eBook titles and 7,500 eAudio titles in its overdrive collection; 47,400 eBooks in its EBSCO public library eBook collection; thousands of streaming movies in its Kanopy subscription service; and 110 electronic magazines, TumbleBooks and videos for children.

The library also offers electronically accessible reference books and encyclopedia access, scholarly, academic and general searchable magazine and newspaper databases; financial resources, including ValueLine, Morningstar Investment Research Center and Hoovers Online; and language learning resources, including Rosetta Stone and Pronunciator.

And, the library offers educational and curriculum resources for teachers and students, including Facts on File and Jstor; career and employment resources; genealogy resources; and online learning services, including Lynda.com and Universal Class.

“Our staff is working remotely and in one recent week we configured 70 laptops to deploy to staff members for use during this time,” Tolchin said.

“Remote phone, online chat and email reference inquiries totaled 870 patrons assisted from March 17 to April 4 when we started keeping a record of daily reference service activity.

“Our children’s librarians are hard at work creating virtual storytime through our Facebook page,” she said.

Monmouth County Library branches are in Allentown, Atlantic Highlands, Colts Neck, Hazlet, Holmdel, Howell, Manalapan, Marlboro, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Shrewsbury, Wall Township and West Long Branch.

Monmouth County Library members are Brielle, Eatontown, Fair Haven, Interlaken, Keansburg, Little Silver, Manasquan, Monmouth Beach, Neptune City, Oceanic (Rumson), Sea Bright, Sea Girt, Tinton Falls and Union Beach.

The county library provides materials to the members, but they are otherwise independent, nor do they pay the county library tax the branch towns pay.

For library users with questions about their account or how to access materials, the staff has employed a live chat feature at www.Monmouthcountylib.org or library users may call 866-941-8188, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Newspaper Media Group staff writer Kathy Chang contributed to this article.