Sarasota libraries expand online alternatives

During library closures due to COVID-19, the library is offering a digital library card and online programming.

On a typical day, Sarasota County librarians can be found conducting programs or helping residents find the perfect book.

Lately, however, they’ve been providing technical help for those trying to use computer programs from home.

“We’re still answering phones, and we get a lot of requests for tech help,” said Renee Di Pilato, libraries and historical resources director. “A lot of people are using not just library resources but these types of technology for the first time, so we want to help with that.”

The library is still offering its phone service, but it also added a chat and text option to help residents. The service, called Ask Us, allows people to write in on the website or text employees for help.

Additionally, employees have enhanced the amount of digital content the libraries offers, such as e-books, audio books, music, movies and video classes. Employees also created a digital library card, so those who previously did not have a card could still use library services.

Sarasota County residents can apply for the card online to access all of the library’s content. So far, more than 1,500 people have applied.

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