Library Entering Phase 2 – building open, reduced capacity

You asked, we answered – the library will enter Phase 2 on Monday, June 1st. Here’s what that means for you:

  • Library locations will open to the public from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. through 6 p.m. on Sunday
    • Telephone assistance as usual at all 14 locations during these hours
  • All patrons entering Library buildings must wear a face mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Because of the need to increase distance between workstations, a reduced number of Public PCs will be available on a “reservations” basis:
    • Please call the Reference Desk at your desired location to make a reservation
    • Reservations for slots during the first hour the Library is opened may be placed the day before
    • Headphones will not be available; please bring your own
    • Keyboard and mice will be cleaned after each use
    • Public PCs will be available until 15 minutes before closing
    • Printing, copying and faxing will be available
  • Wi-Fi will be available inside and outside from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at all 14 locations
    • Seating will be limited; physical distance will be maintained between seating, tables, and computers
  • Acrylic sneeze guards will be placed at service desks and visual reminders related to social distancing will be in use at each location
  • Hand sanitizer should be available at each location
  • PPE will be in use by staff at each location
  • The Library collection will be considered “Closed Stacks” during this time period
    • Patrons may call ahead to locate materials, or reserve items as usual.
    • Patrons who come in person will request books directly from a staff member. The staff member will then search the shelves for desired books or AV materials and bring them directly to patrons to minimize contact
    • Patrons will be able to check out their materials via Self Check Kiosks at all locations or receive assistance at Circulation Services
  • Call Ahead/ Drive Through/ Pick Up Service will continue at all locations
  • Library materials may be returned to any location; items that are trapped to fulfill Reservations will be quarantined for 72 hours before becoming available to the patron who is “on Hold”
  • We encourage reserving the first hour of service for seniors and those with compromised immune systems; please consider arriving at or after 10 a.m. if you are not in that category
  • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult or care-taker
  • We will monitor occupancy of the library and as necessary, limit the number of patrons who may be inside at any given time; occupancy limits will need to be strictly enforced
  • We will not accept money other than through the usual online credit card service

You can find more information in the June copy of our monthly newsletter, The Source. Welcome back, Baton Rouge!

NOVAC Virtual Film Camp

NOVAC in partnership with EBRPL will be offering summer camps online for teens aged 13-18. The focus will be on creating animation and puppetry projects aligned with the Imagine Your Story theme for 2020. Youth will complete a project by the end of the week-long camp using materials they have available to them at home as well as materials available for pickup from library branches. Classes will meet daily on Zoom with a professional filmmaker instructor and students will have access to an online classroom to communicate with one another and review materials.

Call the teen department at any branch to reserve your space today!

BREC Garden Stories

The Main Library and BREC have teamed together to bring Garden Stories! In the garden section of the BREC gardens at Independence Park, there are stanchions placed around, about 20 – 30 feet apart. At each stanchion, there are 1 – 2 pages of a children’s book to read. Stories change the first of each month.

This month’s story is The Hidden Rainbow by Christie Matheson, about gardens and bees. Perfect for this time of year! Each stanchion also has a little something physical for the children to do as they go to the next site. The first page’s stanchion is under the big oak tree just outside the Library’s north door. Enjoy the fresh air and read!

Free Genealogy Stuff

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library is proud to offer genealogists an abundance of resources. We hope that you are aware that you can access all of them, including AncestryLE, Fold3, Heritage Quest, and many others, through our Digital Library.

To complement these sites, we have also curated a selection of free resources that can be accessed by anyone. These are located in the Genealogy infoguide, just look for the “Infoguides” leaf at the top of the library homepage at www.ebrpl.com. Once you arrive at the infoguide, look for the blue tab at the top labelled “Links”. This will take you to a selection of resources from Louisiana and around the country. Here is some of what we have collected for you:

Findagrave.com is exactly what it sounds like. Volunteers from all over the world have photographed and documented grave sites and uploaded the results here. This includes large urban and church cemeteries, but also smaller out-of-the-way grave sites as well. Things like names, dates, and locations can provide valuable clues to help you unearth your family’s past.

USGenweb.org is a clearing house for state and local genealogy societies. Many of the sites you will find here contain local histories and governmental and non-governmental records. The most valuable service here is links to local historical societies, who are available to answer questions and help you along.

Freedom on the Move is a database that collects runaway slave announcements from newspapers all around the country. Before Emancipation, very little was recorded of the lives of slaves, unless those slaves decided to self-liberate. Then the slave-owners would take out advertisements in their local newspapers with detailed descriptions of their runaways, including their skill-set and often personality traits. If you are descended from slaves, or from slave-owners, you might find valuable details here.

Lastly, the Library of Congress has a project to make available old newspapers from all over the country. Chronicling America has millions of pages of scanned newspapers, fully searchable from both small towns and large cities. This is a tremendous resource for locating legal notices, property records, and news events that directly affected your ancestors.

All of these and many more, are free from home, without a library card. We update the page periodically, so please take a look around, and come back frequently to see what has changed. And, as always, happy hunting.

guest post by David Laatsch

Our Triumphant Return!

It’s been a minute, but we’re coming back, and we’re so pleased to provide you with the library services you know and love. Here’s the sitch:

Phase One

  • Telephone assistance will be expanded to all 14 locations from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2-6 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Patrons may call the Library location of their choice to reserve new books and A/V materials for pickup, get assistance accessing Library databases and online resources in the Digital Library, consult staff for reader’s advisory service, discuss their accounts, obtain a computer-use-only card if needed, and more.
  • Wi-Fi will remain available outside all 14 locations from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.
  • The Digital Library is always open 24/7 at ebrpl.com

Will you be able to check out and return books, DVDs, and everything else? Very soon! Starting on Wednesday, May 20th, you can pick up holds through the drive-through windows at the Fairwood Branch and the Main Library on Goodwood or through curbside pickup at all of our other branches.

Can you browse the library’s collection? Because we’re not currently open to patrons, you’ll have to put all of your items on hold to pick up, rather than browsing our physical displays. If you’re looking for something to read and you’re not sure what you want, here are some great infoguides and resources:

Can you use the library computers? Not yet – we’re working on making the library’s physical spaces safer for patrons and staff, which includes things like rearranging furniture to allow for social distancing, installing sneeze guards, and finalizing procedures on how and when to clean publically used items like computers and printers. We’ll reopen to patrons at a reduced capacity in Phase 2.

This is an evolving situation for us and for you. We’ll update you frequently on our status, and we’ll open our community spaces back up as soon as it is safe to do so. Stay well, Baton Rouge!

Genealogy and Family History

Genealogy and the sources we use can teach us about far more than the bare facts of our ancestors’ lives. We can use these sources to add context, and understand what was going on around them as they lived their daily lives. For example, newspapers, the first drafts of history, show that some elements of the past are familiar to us today. The Advocate Historical Archive, available through the digital library on the EBR Parish Library web site, is a fully searchable archive of every iteration of the Advocate going back to the 1840s.

We have all been reading the news: An illness sweeping across our country; forced closure of public buildings; pleas to keep inside; a grim and growing total reported daily in the newspaper. 

This headline appeared in the Baton Rouge State Times on June 24, 1952: 

Just a month later, on July 23, this sentence appeared: 

This article also came with this advice from Dr. J. D. Martin, the parish health officer:

Polio in 1952, like COVID-19 today, was a frightening, often deadly illness. It attacked the muscular system, so many of those who escaped with their lives were left with mobility problems. Most of these victims were children. Unlike the Spanish flu, Polio outbreaks occurred within living memory. However, with a massive societal effort, and the discovery of an effective vaccine, polio has been eliminated from the United States. The last known case here was reported in 1979, according to the CDC. 

As you undertake your genealogy journey, you should contact older relatives for information about their lives. A good way to start a conversation is to ask about the events that they lived through, especially those that are similar to our lives right now. You might ask how it affected their lives, or if they knew of anybody who got the disease. These sorts of questions can lead to broader discussions of family relationships.

guest post by David Laatsch, EBRPL genealogist

Library eBooks for Kindle

Even when you can’t get your hands on a physical library book, you can still check books out for free for your Kindle! Ebook programs like OverDrive and RBDigital can deliver digital copies of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more.

New to Kindle? Here’s a video from Amazon on how to set up your device:

Even though there isn’t an OverDrive app for the Kindle Fire, it’s still really easy to deliver OverDrive ebooks to your device. Check out our “OverDrive for Kindle” infoguide to learn more!

Learn Online with Lynda

Stuck inside? Sick of it? Expand your mind with an online course from Lynda.com! Here are the ten most popular courses right here in EBR this month:

  1. Illustrator 2020 Essential Training
  2. Maya 2020 Essential Training
  3. Maya 2019 Essential Training
  4. Excel Essential Training (Office 365)
  5. Windows 10 November 2019 Update Essential Training
  6. Tableau Essential Training
  7. Cert Prep: Excel Expert – Microsoft Office Specialist for Office 2019 and Office 365
  8. CSS Essential Training
  9. InDesign 2020 Essential Training
  10. R for Data Science: Lunchbreak Lessons

Get Crafty

As a wise person once said, this is the time to break out the good art supplies. Here are some library resources that can help you find the perfect thing to make with the crafty goodies you’ve been saving for a rainy day. Remember, if you don’t have a library card, you can get a temporary computer use card online!

With Creativebug, you can get inspiration with thousands of video classes on everything under the sun. New videos are released every day! Patterns, templates, and recipes can be downloaded, and you can talk to other crafters in online forums or show off your work in a community gallery.
The Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center has millions of articles and diagrams with which you can beef up your knowledge of esoteric techniques, learn new patterns, or just find out something interesting about your favorite art form.
Get some inspiration from these or any of our other online arts resources, and tell us what you made in the comments!