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The Anoka County Library system has numerous online resources available for learning, researching and entertaining. (Photo by Emilee Wentland)

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As the COVID-19 outbreak has reached pandemic status, more families are staying inside to decrease their changes of catching or spreading the coronavirus.

Gov. Tim Walz closed schools through at least March 27, and many offices are telling their employees to work from home.

That means families are stuck inside, aside from necessary travel or trips to the grocery store.

ABC Newspapers compiled a list of educational and fun activities through the Anoka County Library system for the whole family.

Educational

While Anoka County libraries are closed for the time being, there are plenty of online resources for families with a library card. Those who don’t have a card can apply online, even when the libraries are closed, at tinyurl.com/wbdhfbr. For the Columbia Heights library (which isn’t part of the county system) residents can call to sign up for a card.

The library system provides an online tutor website called HelpNow, available through the library website in English and Spanish. HelpNow assists students with homework online.

Library staff countywide are available via phone to answer any library- or research-related questions.

For kids to practice their reading skills, the library has a subscription to BookFLIX, an online service that reads stories aloud to kids while they follow along on screen.

There’s also Miss Humblebee’s Academy for 2- to 6-year-olds to learn about music, math, arts and literacy.

Library patrons can also see a digital version of the daily Pioneer Press newspaper to catch up on current events in the Twin Cities.

Just plain fun

The library system offers a bunch of e-books and audio books for people of all reading levels.

“We’re adding even more now that we’re closed,” Anoka County Collections Strategies Manager Drew Wylie said.

In addition, the library has Canopy video streaming for families to watch videos and movies online. There are kids collections, too.

Anoka County libraries are working on recording story time sessions so families can stay connected to their local librarians while libraries are closed, Anoka County Library Director Patti Hetrick said. And they’re looking into creating online book clubs so folks can stay connected.

Get more information on resources and activities available through the Anoka County Library system at anokacounty.us/1758/Libraries or call 763-324-1500.

emilee.wentland@ecm-inc.com

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