Stuck at Home? Take an Ivy League Class–For Free!

As part of our commitment to help you continue learning and being entertained during the COVID-19 crisis, we are sharing a variety of virtual tours, educational resources, live camera experiences at zoos, and online story times.

Want to learn something new while you’re stuck at home? Law, the arts, history, engineering…you name it, it’s available! Open the door to glimpse an Ivy League level education!

Check out one of a wide variety of MOOCs–these are massive open online courses. Maybe you joined Shannon months ago in a workshop she offered teaching you how to find and maneuver your way through such things. Or maybe your time to figure it out is now. This is a link to one of many clearing houses for free online classes, these specifically being offered by the Ivy Leagues. Classes are often self-paced and without penalty for non-completion, so feel free to explore!

Audible Makes Select Audiobooks Free during COVID-19 Crisis

As part of our commitment to help you continue learning and being entertained during the COVID-19 crisis, we are sharing a variety of virtual tours, and educational experiences.

Audible, the online audiobook provider,  has stepped up to provide free listening opportunities for young readers looking for more books. Hop on over to Audible Stories to learn more! Check out this article to learn more.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

As part of our commitment to help you continue learning and being entertained during the

COVID-19 crisis, we are sharing a variety of virtual tours.


The Smithsonian. One of the most amazing American museums–and one of the most extensive in the world–has a number of virtual tours to keep you wondering and learning. This tour includes current exhibits.

Safari from the Comfort of Your Home!

As part of our commitment to public education and entertainment continuing during the COVID-19 crisis, we are sharing virtual tours.

Want to go on a safari from the comfort of your own home? Thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, you can do that every day at 3pm EST. Just one more great educational resource people are putting together to help out during the current crisis.

Home Safari Resources

Please also remember the great resources we have in the bins on our front porch–there are coloring pages, Spanish activity booklets, Story Time crafts, discarded books and discarded magazines. We’re hoping our sharing helps you at this time.

Tour the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

As part of our commitment to help you continue learning and being entertained during the COVID-19 crisis, we are sharing a variety of virtual tours.

If you’d like to explore some of the striking artworks created by Americans over many years, this might be the perfect virtual tour for you. Featuring thousands of stunning pieces of art, if you’re stuck at home and wondering about the creative vision of Americans before you, here’s the tour to take. Ask yourself what inspired these artists, and then ask yourself what inspires YOU.


Story Times by Celebrities

Looking for more read-alouds to listen to? The LA Times recently shared a list of celebrities reading children’s books for special Story Times. Some of the individual links are below in case you can’t access the Times right now. Celebrities may also pitch their other work either before or after the reading, so please be aware there is technically commercial content.

Watch Jennifer Garner read The Mitten .

Watch Josh Gad read The Giving Tree (this book’s a personal favorite of Shannon and Anne’s–oh, the feels!). As a note, Josh does pitch his current show at the end.

Watch Molly Idle read Pearl about a mermaid. Molly does mention her other books at the beginning.

Watch Amy Adams read The Dinosaur Princess. As a note, Amy does make a pitch for her nonprofit in the beginning.

Rowboat Watkins reads his book Most Marshmallows.

Sarah Jacoby reads Forever and a Day.

You can follow the hashtag #OperationStoryTime on Instagram to find more people reading their books or a friend’s. And don’t forget, tomorrow we will have Story Time at the Library LIVE with Miss Anne through our Facebook Live Video feed (find us at @harrislibrary). Please tune in at 10:30am EST to hear two great stories read by our own Miss Anne!

Change of Library Schedule due to COVID-19 Concerns

This is very difficult news for any Library Director or Library Manager to deliver, but we hope you know the small staff at your little but lively library well enough to understand our concerns for your safety and our own in light of taking COVID-19 precautions.

Following the suggestions of both the New York Library Association and NYS Governor’s Office, and the actions of Otsego County schools (as per the Otesgo County Department of Health’s advice) Harris Memorial Library will be closed to the public for a duration of two weeks as of end of business on Monday, March 16th. We hope to reopen Monday, March 30th. Please check in on our Facebook page (@harrislibrary) for the most recent updates.

To help make this temporary change easier, we are extending loan times of ALL resources to 6 weeks, waiving all fines during that period, and allowing you to take out a few more resources than normal, too. We will also offer certain virtual opportunities to replace our regular Story Times and Spanish for Kids, and have limited resources made available on the porch (starting Monday) for patrons to keep.


I appreciate your understanding,


Discarded Magazines and Books Available on the Porch for Reading or Crafts

Starting Monday, and for the 2 week period during which children are out of school, we will be placing a modest selection of discarded magazines and discarded books on the porch as items for patrons to take home and keep for free. You can read them, craft with them–there are always many things you can do with reading material!

Links below show you a few ways you can get creative with discards. Please only take one or two per household, please observe good hygiene when touching the boxes, and shut the bins well when you’re done. We will also include some paper instructions inside for you to take with you to help with crafting ideas.

You can look at a book page folding tutorial here (these things are great for teaching and reinforcing measurement):

Simplified Folded Book Art

How to Fold Book pages into Letters – Recycled Book Art Ideas

The pages themselves can be made into art if you consider kirigami and origami, here is a link to help:

Even the covers of discarded library books can be made into purses or bags! And here are a couple links to ideas for those, too:

Turn an Old Book into a New Purse

You can also make book or magazine beads! Link below:

How to Make Paper Beads

Or do blackout poetry using someone else’s words! Here is a link to some examples:






Library Health Announcement


If you are a patron of ours, you will likely notice new signs around the building. This is one of our attempts to do our part in the community to slow the spread of COVID-19 (and cold and flu). As local schools have now closed for 2 weeks, it is possible our status here will also change, and quickly. Please pay attention to our Facebook page where we can most quickly and easily update everyone. The following is part of what’s physically posted at the library and what was shared earlier this week on our Facebook page. It is subject to change.


We’ve posted easy-to-read reminders on how to properly wash hands near our sinks (we have bunches of little kids and parents, so it’s good to build good habits). If having a little poster like ours for your home or workplace might help YOU, we’ll share a link to where we got ours.

We will also be posting reminders requesting people don’t visit if they or a family member are/is sick (also, simply good and considerate practices).

We will also be encouraging “social distancing”–so please keep at least 3 feet and ideally 6 feet away from people. You know our library is unlike others in that talking is okay, so, during these times particularly, Shannon’s not going to flip out if you need to talk a little more loudly to communicate with people. This also means we don’t want you leaning on the circulation desk or reaching across it.

We will also be reminding you of your ability to use alternative procedures to get books and resources (call, talk to Shannon or Anne, request books, and reserve them and a time at which we can walk them to your car).

You can also renew books/resources over the phone (988-6661)–in that case you can leave us a message with your name and request.

We continue to disinfect book covers as books come in from 4CLS and we disinfect books that are returned (that’s no different from last year during the height of cold and flu season, or when books come in looking like they were dropped in a puddle of mud…).

We regularly disinfect shared surfaces (tables, hard chairs, keyboards, computer mice, door knobs, light switches).

In the case of children we will instruct them to go wash their hands if they’re making questionable choices about touching their eyes, nose, mouth, etc. and shared surfaces (and then disinfect while they wash up).

We’ve also put away all the stuffed animals which regularly populate our children’s section since scientists still have not determined the length of time certain germs cling to soft surfaces. (This morning we will also be removing ALL children’s toys including Legos and the table and chairs as we cannot keep them as constantly disinfected as we’d like and the table is too small to accommodate social distancing.)

If there is something you’d like us to also do, feel free to make a suggestion. We are here to listen, learn, and work hard on your behalf.

Additionally, we will be changing services in such a way to better accommodate the stay-at-home needs of families with children to entertain. Starting today (Saturday, March 14th) resources will be loaned out for 6 weeks, all events/activities will be cancelled for the next 2 weeks (some will be made available online through our Facebook account), and our daily schedule is subject to change, so please check in on Facebook to learn more.

Simple Health Precautions for Cold, Flu, and Other Concerns

It’s all over the news, even causing President Trump to address the concern in a brief conference last night : coronavirus (or, more properly, COVID-19).  You can click here to see Trump’s remarks, they start on COVID-19 at 06:30 on the time stamp slide, prior to that it’s set-up, and remarks on the most recent mass shooting. At 23:50 on the same video, a representative from the CDC speaks about how to stay healthy.

In an effort to provide facts, we’re sharing a link-rich resource with you. Each link (until the word “*Additionally”) takes you to a vetted medical or science-based source.

The main advice health officials are repeating is the importance of good and frequent hand-washing.

The good news is: That’s simple! The bad news is: you may be doing it wrong. You can review how to do it correctly here. In short, 20 seconds of good, serious scrubbing with soap and water (sing the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice), and get under your nails–all sorts of creepy stuff can linger there.

Other advice includes: covering your mouth and nose properly if coughing or sneezing (the previous advice via World Health Organization or  WHO), keeping out of people’s “personal bubble,” and, if you’re sick (cold, flu, whatever), please stay home. 

The virus is zoonotic, and has an incubation period of 1 to 14 days (with most people showing symptoms at five days after exposure before symptoms show up). Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

If you would like to see a map of where cases have been verified, Johns Hopkins has shared one that is very informative.

The CDC is providing tips for communities so they can be better prepared here.

This is a useful site to share with friends on social media if you want to help slow the spread of disinformation.

The CDC also has suggestions for businesses and employers to consider as pandemic plans are updated (which should routinely be done).

Here’s what the NY Gov site specifically says about it: They have a chart they are updating daily there.

*Additionally, one CDC official (head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier) has suggested Americans consider preparing for a disruption of norms by being ready with essential supplies, food, water, medicine, and entertainment for family members. Dr. Messonnier has also suggested schools consider tele-schooling and that certain jobs consider telecommuting options for employees. You can read her suggestions here or here, at various news media sites.

We hope this is helpful to our patrons and readers. At the library we are continuing to disinfect shared surfaces and items and have no issues (ever) if you need to call and renew books because you are feeling under the weather. We are here to help you.