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We are in a strange and unfamiliar time without the usual routines and interactions. Some folks are at home in a furlough status.  Others have spent an excruciatingly oppressive time sorting out access, permissions, and connectivity problems with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and a plethora of additional industry specific online platforms so that we can have all of the headache of work without ever leaving home.  It’s a bit like never being off for some, I expect. 


There’s a formlessness about the days and weeks now in some ways; and while I might be ripe for this kind of ambiguity, unfortunately, my husband Guy is not!  When I saw a wide expanse of fertile time unfurling ahead of me, I went to the OFPL website and browsed issues of This Old House on Flipster for home improvement ideas. 

Also, I can continue my genealogy research at home because OFPL patrons now have remote access for Ancestry, I am very pleased to report.  Just login to Ancestry using your last name and library card number.

If you have children to teach and entertain, you must check out the many links on the Kids’ Stay-at-Home Resources page. You do not want to miss Online Story Times with Miss Julie!

Kids’ Stay-at-Home Resources page

If you want information about the Corona Virus, visit our webpage for links to local and national agencies.  There is also a list of Nationwide Resources for people who need information or financial assistance.

When I started this experiment in semi-isolation, I had my list and a very optimistic outlook about my productivity potential, which by extension includes Guy’s productivity potential since my projects tend to be load-bearing and require upper arm strength.  

After the first few days of this adventure, my friend texted a brag about how clean her house is now that she’s home from work.

Even with the initial momentum, my house was only marginally cleaner than before the confinement, and now it’s time to start all over again. 

I’m no statistician, but metaphorically speaking, the formula that expresses the likely outcome of my home improvement goals looks like:  household projects minus my persistence, divided by Guy’s enthusiasm equals approximately a 15% probability of task completion.

I sometimes suspect that the problem of all this free time is not so much about having or not having things to do, but needing structure to perform well.  Wouldn’t water just flow omnidirectional without the segmented ice tray to impose order and uniformity during the dramatic transformation from a liquid to a solid?

One thing I have done, however, is begin construction of a large, rectangle wood planter in our garage.  Guy deserves a medal for all the lifting and toiling he’s been asked to do.  And let me give a big shout-out to the brave men and women at Ace and Home Depot who toil at their own peril so I can pursue this expensive and tedious quest involving lumber and power saws.

In all seriousness, during this time of separateness, it’s important to express just how much we at the library miss our friendly community of patrons. And while Facebook. Zoom, and other social media help, nothing can replace a genuine in-person smile.  Stay strong and read!

O’Fallon Public Library News & Notes first appeared in the O’Fallon Weekly, April 8, 2020.

More Online Resources:


Explora is EBSCO’s interface for Schools and Public Libraries. Designed to meet the unique needs of its users, Explora supports both student research and classroom instruction with the following features:

  • Simple search that quickly delivers relevant results
  • Easy-to-browse categories organized by popular topic
  • Topic overviews that provide students with a starting point for research
  • Colorful, mobile-friendly design with feature areas that provide context to students
  • Reading level indicators (Lexile® Measures) to simplify discovery of grade-appropriate content
  • Text-to-speech for HTML articles to assist struggling readers or those learning English
  • Curriculum Standards Module to help educators correlate EBSCO content quickly and easily to Common Core, state- or province-specific curriculum standards
Digital Public Library of America

Digital Public Library of America – DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format.


Duolingo – Learning with Duolingo is fun and addictive. Earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up.  Language learning in effective, bite-sized lessons.

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