Library Blog Archive

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Visit this space to find out the latest happenings at Muhlenberg County Public Libraries!

Know Your Library – Hotspots

Did you know that Muhlenberg County Public Libraries has Wi-Fi hotspots available for checkout?

These hotspots allow Internet access for patrons in remote areas of the county who may not otherwise have a reliable connection.

We have a limited number of hotspots available at each library branch.

Due to the popularity and limited availability of these items, as well as their relatively higher cost, there are some special restrictions on hotspot checkouts. We limit checkouts to one week, and they cannot be renewed. (These items may be checked out again at a later date, if available, but they must be returned to the library first.)

Late fees are higher for the hotspots than some other items ($3 per day they are late), and similar to our other items, if they are not returned within a reasonable period of time, you may be charged for the equipment. This helps ensure that we will have equipment available for other patrons and can continue to provide this service to our users.

You will also be asked for a small deposit in order to check out a hotspot, and you must sign an agreement stating that you understand and agree to our hotspot checkout policy.

If you have library fines on your account, you may not be eligible to borrow a hotspot. If you do have library fines, however, you can pay those through our online catalog system at http://mcplib.org/catalog-search/.

For more information about checking out a hotspot, call us at 270-338-4760!

Know Your Library – Kentucky Virtual Library

Did you know that anyone with a Muhlenberg County Public Libraries card has easy, free access to a multitude of educational databases?

Kentucky Virtual Library is free for all public library cardholders.

Kentucky Virtual Library, or KYVL, is a collaborative effort between libraries, schools and hospitals across the commonwealth, along with the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives and the Council on Postsecondary Education. KYVL includes educational resources for all levels, ranging from learning materials geared toward early readers to scholarly journals helpful for research projects.

Currently, KYVL even includes access to Ancestry.com for those who are interested in tracing their family tree.

KYVL also includes the Kentucky Digital Library. Kentucky Digital Library is a digital archive of newspapers, photographs and more from across the state of Kentucky.

KYVL can be accessed for free from the safety and comfort of your own home. You’ll need a working Internet connection and our library’s login information. To get the current login credentials, call the library at 270-338-4760 and verify that you have a library card.

The login info changes regularly, so you may need to call for updated information if it’s been a while since you accessed KYVL.

For more details about the resources provided as part of KYVL, or for more information about how to get started, check out our recent video tutorial series on YouTube or our Facebook page. We currently have videos focusing on resources for adults in college and professional careers and for elementary-age students, with more tutorials to come later this month.

Know Your Library – Online Genealogy Resources

Did you know Muhlenberg County Public Libraries offers a free way to work on your genealogy research from your own home?

Every Muhlenberg County Public Libraries user can log into HeritageQuest Online with their library card number (referred to on the HeritageQuest website as “barcode”) to begin searching for information.

Library cardholders can also temporarily access popular genealogy website Ancestry.com from their homes for free through Kentucky Virtual Library.

Both websites are operated by parent company ProQuest.

While these two services are both operated by the same parent company, they do not have all the same information. HeritageQuest has a smaller collection, but it includes some of the most popular data, such as census records.

HeritageQuest also includes city directories, maps, family stories and more.

Ancestry, meanwhile, has many additional records, including vital (birth and death) records, court and legal documents, and more.

Ancestry isn’t typically available to cardholders outside the library without an additional fee for an individual account, so HeritageQuest is a great way to get started or to supplement your research if Ancestry isn’t available.

Muhlenberg County Public Libraries is fortunate to be able to offer Ancestry Library Edition temporarily to our patrons in their own homes. This service is provided through Kentucky Virtual Library in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. Currently, this service is set to expire some time in 2021.

In the meantime, patrons can visit our Online Resources page at http://www.mcplib.org/resources to find a link to the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL). You may need to call the library to get current login information, which changes frequently, but once you log in, you will have access to a vast collection of databases and other research materials.

As long as it is available, you can find Ancestry Library Edition in the “Databases” drop-down menu or in the A to Z List of Resources on KYVL.

Even after this special Ancestry access expires, our patrons will continue to have free access to HeritageQuest Online. There is a link to HeritageQuest on our Online Resources page, as well.

You will need a valid library card number to log in to HeritageQuest, but you can access it at any time from any location.

Know Your Library – Printing and Copying

Did you know that Muhlenberg County Public Libraries offers an inexpensive way to print and copy items?

Normally, printing and copying is offered on a self-service basis in our libraries, along with our public computer access. Visitors can use our color copier or print from our public computers.

Now, with the library operating via curbside service only, we have opted to continue to provide these services in a slightly altered form.

If you need to take advantage of one of these services, no problem! Call us first to schedule your pickup appointment and make all the necessary preparations so we can assist you quickly and efficiently. Then you can send us your files to be printed or bring items that need to be copied. A library staff member will meet you at your vehicle to take care of your needs.

We also offer a mobile printing option, accessible at http://mcplib.org/resources/. You can send files directly from your own devices to the printer through that service.

Please do not use the website’s Contact Us form for printing services.

Again, however, even if you choose the mobile printing option, please call us to schedule a pickup appointment and to make sure we have received your print job before you come to the library to pick it up, just in case!

A small fee will apply to any printing or copying services.

For more information, or to schedule a curbside print or copy service, call us at 270-338-4760!

Service Announcement

Library switches to only curbside service due to COVID-19

In light of recent case numbers of COVID-19 in our community, Muhlenberg County Public Libraries will return to curbside service only next week through at least the middle of December.

“We hate to close our doors to the public, but at this time, it seems like the most responsible action we can take,” library director Janet Harris said. “We will happily reopen as soon as the local caseload drops to a safer level.”

“Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.”

Harris said the library worked in cooperation with the Muhlenberg County Health Department and the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives to make this decision, after Wednesday’s new restrictions were issued by the state. Libraries are classified as “professional services,” which are required to close to the public when possible and to ensure that no more than 33 percent of staff are present in the building at any time.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 23, Muhlenberg County Public Libraries will offer curbside service by appointment on the following days/hours:

  • Monday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Wednesday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Thursday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The library will be operating with reduced staffing capacities and will remain closed Friday-Sunday each day. No appointments will be scheduled during the lunch hour, 12-1 p.m., to allow staff time for their own break.

The library will also be closed next Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Curbside service will be available at the above listed hours at both Harbin Memorial and Central City libraries.

Appointments will be required to allow staff ample time to gather, clean and prepare items for pickup. The library requests at least 24 hours’ notice.

To place an order for curbside pickup, contact the library by phone at 270-338-4760. Staff will take your order at that time and schedule a pickup appointment at the time and location most convenient for you.

You may also use the library’s online catalog to place holds on items you would like to borrow. Library staff will contact you when the items are available, and you can schedule your pickup appointment at that time.

When you arrive for a curbside appointment pickup, park in the designated area of the library’s rear parking lot and call the number posted on the signs. Please stay in your vehicle. A library staff member will bring your items out and place them in your vehicle.

Although the library will be closed to in-person use and no public computer access will be available temporarily, Harris pointed out that the library does provide free high-speed Wi-Fi in the rear parking areas. Anyone needing to use the Internet for work or school purposes is encouraged to utilize this free service.

The library also has a small number of mobile hotspots available for checkout. These items will provide Internet service (depending on mobile signal strength) at the patron’s home or other location.

These items cannot be placed in the library book drop and should be returned to staff at curbside service.

All other returned items should be placed in one of the library’s book drops. Book drops are available in both the front and back of each library building, as well as at Stewart’s Foodliner in Beechmont.

Harris said the library had hoped to avoid making the decision to return to curbside service only, but library personnel are also keenly interested in making sure everyone stays safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said, “This decision is not one we take lightly. We know that people enjoy visiting their library, and we love having those visitors.

“We hope that, by temporarily switching to curbside service only, we will be able to continue to serve our community in the safest way possible for all our community members as well as our staff.”

For more information about curbside service at Muhlenberg County Public Libraries or to browse the online catalog, visit the library’s website at http://www.mcplib.org.

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