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Newmarket Public Library ramps up online programming in wake of COVID-19

Child storytime, knitting and baking clubs are available through library's online resources, writes Lorne Chase.
May 12, 2020
Lorne Chase

It’s been close to two months since our community went into lockdown. We’ve had to adjust to not being able to get together in groups to attend events, participate in programs, or just socialize.

As a community hub, the library has had to adapt quickly to rapid change. Staff have been working hard to establish online programming to engage the community at a time when most of us remain in isolation. The learning curve has been steep, but efforts have resulted in several online programs already up and running with more on the way, including:

Children’s Storytimes
These were the first to get up and running online and continue to be popular. They are being provided by staff from the library’s Children’s Department on a weekly basis. This week’s storytime is all about moms, celebrating Mother’s Day. Look for it and all our storytimes on our YouTube channel.

Knitting, Crocheting and Sewing Circle
Our online knitting circle meets on Wednesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and is popular with those who like to connect with fellow enthusiasts to compare projects, share techniques and tips, and have a good chat. All are welcome to participate, click here for more info.

NPL’s Stay at Home Book Chat
Although in isolation you can still get together with others for some interesting and lively discussions about books. Books to read are selected by Adult Services staff and meetings bring participants together online to share their thoughts on what they’ve read. All the books selected are available as ebooks from the library. Find out more here

NPL’s Online Baking Club
Here’s an opportunity to share your love of baking with others. Each online session will be about a different baked good, and first up are muffins. Participants will make their muffins from a favourite recipe, then get together on Thursday, May 14, at 3 p.m. to show each other the results, offer tips and suggestions, and chat about baking. You can register here.

Get tips on planting this spring in NPL’s Garden Club
You can maintain social distancing and still get together with fellow gardeners to discuss which perennials, annuals and vegetables grow best in our climate, share gardening tips and advice, and find out about helpful gardening ebooks you can borrow from the library. The club will be meeting on Thurs., May 21, at 3 p.m. Register now here.

Don’t Just Spring CleanSPRING CLEAR!
This free online discussion with Arlene Stephenson from Downsizing Diva will have you thinking about spring cleaning -- that traditional rite of spring -- in a very different way! On Thurs., May 21, from 7 to 8 p.m. join Arlene to find out how simple changes can make a huge impact in your home, and get inexpensive and creative tips on decluttering and downsizing. Register now here.

Along with programming, the library is still open online with ebooks, e-audiobooks, emagazines, online courses, streaming movies and music, research databases and more, all available through its Online Library Anyone requiring assistance in accessing e-resources can use the AskNPL link at the top right of the library’s home page, text 905-769-0433, or email

Even while continuing to provide programs and services online, library staff are looking ahead to reopening by studying and preparing to implement the province’s new guidelines for workplace health and safety. Before opening its doors once again to the community, all measures will be in place to provide a safe environment for staff and library users.