Monticello library continues public services during closure

The Monticello Public Library is now offering story time for youngsters online via a private Facebook group: Story Time @ MPL. Library Director Michelle Turnis and Youth Services Librarian Penny Schmit pose with Elephant and Piggie from Mo Willems’ popular children's books. (Photo submitted)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With Gov. Kim Reynolds’ extension of business and service closures through April 30 due to coronavirus (COVID-19), that also includes public libraries.

     The Monticello Public Library always had so many events and programs planned week after week. Every fourth Friday of the month, the library hosted story time for young kids and their families. With the library closed for another month, they decided to host online story times direct from Miss Michelle (Turnis) and Miss Penny’s (Schmit) homes.

     People can watch the library’s online story times via the Monticello library’s private Facebook group: (“Story Time @ MPL”).

     “We are hoping to post a new video at least three times a week,” offered Monticello Library Director Michelle Turnis.

     The idea came about after the library noticed teachers and other librarians were reaching out to children’s book publishers, seeking permission to read various books online.

     “Publishers quickly responded with limited permissions,” said Turnis.

     Because books are copyrighted material, you need permission from the publisher to read them online to the general public. Turnis explained some publishers granted permission for purposes like this at a time where libraries and teachers need to reach out to children stuck at home. However, that permission came with a timeframe or asking that videos be posted on a closed platform. That’s why the Monticello library chose to share online story time videos in a closed group where people must request permission to join.

     “Everyone is invited to join,” urged Turnis.

     Online story time will include either librarian reading and sharing a children’s book, using flannel shapes to tell stories. They’ll also be acting out some of their favorite rhymes and songs.

     “We will also be asking questions and giving suggestions of ways to have story time at home,” offered Turnis.

     Aside from story time, the Monticello library and its patrons are missing out on other services such as physically checking out books, DVDs and other materials. During the library’s first week of closing down, March 16, they did offer curbside pick-up and delivery of materials due to lack of notice on the library closing.

     Right now, the library is offering digital library cards. These temporary cards will be good from now until the library opens its doors again to the public. At that time, if you hold a temporary card, you’ll be asked to stop in the library in-person to have your address verified and provide proof of address.

     Those temporary cards can be requested by texting 319-820-2859 or messaging the library on Facebook. This will allow you to access the library’s online services such as BRIDGES, which offers e-books, audio books, and online magazines.

     Many people patronized the library for use of the free wi-fi. That in mind, the library boosted its wi-fi signal to allow the public to access free wi-fi from the parking lot.

     There are plenty of ways to keep supporting the library, though, all from the library’s website: Aside from BRIDGES, there’s Transparent Language where you can choose to learn a new language, over 100 available.

     In addition, you have Helpnow, which offers live tutorials and study skills; Jobnow, job hunting services; Vetnow, assistance for veterans; Gale, access to thousands of research topics; Credo Reference, over 3 million reference entries from academic subject areas; Chilton Auto Repair, comprehensive auto manuals. These can be accessed by visiting

     “Libraries still function as a trusted source of information,” said Turnis of the Monticello library’s plethora of online sources. “We will use our digital platforms to share facts and information related to COVID-19, ways to de-stress, and activities to keep your whole family engaged while out of normal routines.”

     Stay up-to-date on all that the library has to offer by visiting their Facebook page: “Monticello Public Library – Ross & Elizabeth Baty.”


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