So that you can #BeSafeAtHome during the pandemic, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) has expanded virtual opportunities to keep adult customers informed and engaged. 

“SCLSNJ is excited to launch the Adult Learning and Engagement portal, which pulls together the vast number of virtual offerings available to our community members,” said Cindy Mangel, manager of branch services: adult learning and community engagement, public services. “During this time, as we are limited to where we can travel and how we can gather together with friends and family, it has become increasingly important to broaden virtual services for the community. The Library System has always made it a priority to offer programs and services that provide opportunities to connect, explore, share, and discover.”

Through the Adult Learning and Engagement portal, Library customers have the ability to virtually connect to author talks and concerts;  experience virtual travel and hobbies; discover numerous resources for language learning; and explore health and wellness tips.

Author talks and concerts

The Library strives to keep customers engaged by providing live and pre-recorded programs that offer community members the chance to connect with author talks and musical performances. This winter, Library customers will even have the chance to meet Pulitzer Prize-winning author Caroline Fraser on February 8 at 7 p.m.

“All of these virtual service pages are designed to accentuate focuses that have developed during the pandemic,” said Darryl Voorhees, manager of adult services, programming and collaborations, public services. “Author talks and concerts epitomize the type of engaging content that we continue to provide.”

Travel and hobbies

“Self-care is a critical component of staying healthy,” said Voorhees. “That is one of the many reasons that we added a travel and hobbies focus to the Adult Learning and Engagement portal. The travel and hobbies page serves as a virtual bridge to keep Library customers active in safe ways.”

The travel and hobbies webpage offers links to online tours to a number of local attractions including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); virtual tours of sights around the world like Yosemite National Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in England; and a link to Creativebug, an award-winning arts and craft video resource featuring classes taught by design experts and artists.

“SCLSNJ’s expert staff compiled this exciting list of travel destinations and creative resources in hopes that our customers will discover new talents, activities, and destinations without any travel risks,” said Terri Coss, adult services librarian.  

Language learners

“According to Data USA, 31.2 percent of Somerset County residents are speakers of a non-English language, which is higher than the national average of 21.9 percent,” said Catherine DeBerry, branch manager. “In an effort to better serve those community members interested in learning English and support those who desire to learn a second language as the world becomes increasingly globalized, SCLSNJ curated relevant content for language learners.”

The webpage, which was designed to support diverse populations throughout the county, includes links to the language learning resources Mango Languages and Rosetta Stone; digital news resources including PressReader, which houses thousands of publications in over 60 languages; and connections to community English language learners (ELL) classes and organizations.

Health and wellness

Finally, the portal offers a section dedicated to health and wellness. This webpage consists of live and pre-recorded health and wellness based programs including meditation and yoga; connections to community health resources; and links that can help Library customers locate a doctor or medical professional that best meets their needs.

“The physical and psychological well-being of our communities is a matter of paramount importance in a time of increased vulnerabilities,” said Nicole Pascoe, civic services supervisor. “We are optimistic that this compilation of information will help empower customers to stay informed on health and wellness topics, especially during the pandemic.”

Explore learning and engaging opportunities with your Library today: SCLSNJ.org.