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Port Arthur Public Library using digital cards to connect with quarantined members

Port Arthur Public Library is doing what it can to bridge a divide by allowing residents an opportunity to get a digital library card and enjoy the thousands of ebooks and audio books available at no charge.

Normally, a Port Arthur citizen would go to the library and complete an application with a photo ID, but the library doors are closed due to COVID-19.

Jenniffer Hudson Connors, assistant library director, said they realize a lot of people wish they had that card.

“We thought about it and worked out a solution where we will waive the in-person signature in order for people to have access to our online resources,” Connors said. “When things go back to usual and they want to check out print materials and DVDs, they have to sign in-person. This is a way to accommodate people during this extraordinary event.”

Connors said she has had people call whose library card had expired and she helped them through the process to renew.

The library also has free wifi that can be accessed in the parking lot.

Connors said staff is working to post the most current, accurate information on its Facebook page as well as links to government pages about the current situation and homework help.

 How to access

If you have a library card — visit paplibrary.org.

Click on the “digital library” button on the right. Next select “Overdrive.” Follow instructions to download the free Libby app.

You will enjoy access to thousands of audio and ebooks, according to information from PAPL.

If you don’t have a card, the Library is offering a virtual library card to Port Arthur citizens. You’ll need to email a photo of your ID to Connors at jhconnors@paplibrary.org.

She will respond with an application form, once completed and returned by email, you will receive a temporary library card number and PIN.

The Library card number and PIN are needed to access the library’s wealth of on-line resources found under the “databases” link, and the “digital library” content noted above.

Email is answered during regular business hours Monday through Friday.

Homework help

Some library vendors are dropping their paywall and this allows home learners access to quality information at this time, Connors said.

The library has also answered to the call for homework help.

“We have noticed parents calling to get help with homework,” she said. “If they have an email, we can search our online subscription database for relevant, authenticated material and email to the parents or students. I learned a lot about moon jellies last week.”