Greater Columbus Libraries Offer More Than COVID Tests, Books
There is much more than literature, movies, and music available in public libraries these days.
Besides books, DVDs and magazines, libraries are a virtual large store of unconventional offerings.
And due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly all 251 Ohio public library systems now offer in-home COVID-19 testing.
With the resurgence of the delta variant, “there has been a resurgence of interest in testing for COVID-19,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press release. “These tests – and Ohio’s incredible network of public libraries – make it easier than ever for Ohioans to get tested and make sure we limit the spread of the delta variant.”
The Abbott BinaxNOW Home Test comes with a telehealth session to oversee test administration and reporting of results. Home tests are painless and quick.
Those who test themselves will first need to create an account using the NAVICA smartphone app or at www.mynavica.abbott. Once created, they administer the test by going to ohio.emed.com.
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An “emerging trend”: large-scale lending by libraries
The concept of libraries offering more than novels and films has been evolving for some time.
“This is something that has emerged over the past five years,” said Monica Baughman, director of help desk services for Worthington Libraries. “You might want to try it before you buy it and maybe not buy it yourself.”
This is where the new lending trend comes in.
Library System “Adventure Kits” include camping gear, sewing machines, and telescopes. Car code readers are available to diagnose problems and jump starters for dead batteries. Light therapy is available at the cash desk during those long, dark winter days.
And the three-branch system will soon lend picnic blankets to accompany those attending outdoor storytelling hours, primarily for its Northwest branch. A full list of its offerings can be found here.
Grandview Heights Public Library has 27 non-traditional items available at checkout. Among the most unusual: guitars and ukuleles for ages 18 and over, binoculars, cones and runestones for driving training and tarot cards for divination.
If cultural activities such as the zoo or museums interest you, but admission or membership is a deterrent, Columbus Metropolitan Libraries continue their Culture Pass program, which allows customers to use their library card to obtain passes for various local institutions.
These include the Columbus Museum of Art, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Franklin Park Conservatory, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, and the Ohio History Center.
And if you want a beautiful piece of art for your home, but not forever, Westerville has hundreds of visual artwork that it lends to customers for 28 days at a time.
Southwestern Public Libraries, which serves the Grove City area, loan bike locks to its Westland Area Library branch. He is planning more articles in the near future.
Education and health articles for all ages
Southwest and the Delaware County District Library have a wealth of help for those with dementia or memory loss issues. Delaware lends its Memory Care collection. Items include: conversation and keepsake cards, skill and painting activities, and coloring books. Southwest offers similar activity boxes that include restless toys for different levels of memory loss.
And for students, the Delaware County four-branch library system also offers STEAM kits with projects for those interested in science, technology, the arts, engineering, or math.
The Upper Arlington Public Library also has resources for children. Called discovery kits, the boxes include books, games, and toys and have themes such as time, money, and dinosaurs.
The library’s “healing kits” contain items to help children and adults cope with difficult situations such as Alzheimer’s disease, the death of a loved one and COVID-19, said Christine Minx, door – speech from the library.
Computers and WiFi access
And almost all libraries loan out WiFi hotspots, devices that use satellite signals to connect up to 10 wireless devices to high-speed internet. Most can be viewed for up to 14 days, enough time to complete a school assignment or stream the latest movies. Many also check out Chromebooks or laptops, also for up to two weeks.
So is all of this really free?
Well not really. Everyone who pays property taxes pays for it. The Columbus Library District mirrors the school district, and homeowners pay more than $ 80 per year for every $ 100,000 of property value.
Bexley, Delaware, Grandview Heights, Grove City (Southwest Public), Upper Arlington, Westerville, and Worthington each have their own levies, as do over 200 others statewide.
But in Ohio, the state also supports public libraries. And anyone can join any public library anywhere in the state. So if you see something that you would like to try, just become a library card holder.
Most public libraries have links to these items under the “Services” tab of their websites.