Like most places the public gathers, the Brainerd Public Library has shuttered its doors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean people can’t access some of the library’s materials.

Patrons may view the library system's collections online to access materials such as ebooks, audio books and magazines, to name a few. All a person needs is a library card. If a person does not have one or if their library card has expired, which they do every three years — they can call the library at 218-829-5574 or email reference@krls.org.

Jenny Hill, who works at the reference desk at the Brainerd Public Library, said staff will continue to be at the Brainerd library to take calls and help people with any questions they may have.

How does a person begin to gain access to these library materials?

  • Download the Cloud Library app on a smartphone or tablet. The icon looks like a white cloud with “CL” letters in red. Create a login with your library card and pin number, as the library purchased this service. These ebooks are sorted by categories, such as fiction, nonfiction, action and adventure, and so on. Hill noted that once a person checks out an ebook that no one else can check it out until it is due back to the library cloud. When a book is due, it magically disappears from a person’s electronic device. There are hundreds of ebooks to choose from with this app..

  • Download the Flipster — Digital Magazines, a free digital magazine service app to read magazines. More than one person can check out a magazine at one time.

  • Go to https://elibrarymn.org/ to gain access to magazines, journals, newspapers and encyclopedia articles, media and more. This site is for all Minnesota residents.

Brainerd Library staff each week pick out its “Staff Picks” for books. This week’s picks are “Hunger” by Roxana Gay, “Once And For All,” by Sarah Dessen, “Since We Fell” by Dennis Lehane and “The Minestry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy.

Hill said these digital apps should keep a person entertained for as long as needed until the state lifts some of its closing bans. She said updates on the library opening and other news will be posted at www.krls.org or the library’s Facebook page.

All branch libraries of the Kitchigami Regional Library System, which includes the Brainerd Public Library, were open through Tuesday, March 17. A date has not been set on when they will reopen.

People seemed to anticipate the libraries would close as there were 1,500 books checked out on Monday alone, Hill said. Typically the library checks out about 700 books on a Monday.

All programs, classes, events, room bookings and AARP Tax Aide appointments were canceled.

These closures are made in response to state and federal recommendations regarding COVID-19.

Bookmobile services will operate as a pick-up service only at stops. Fees associated with overdue materials will be waived during this period.

Other ideas to stay busy

  • Board games.

  • Puzzles.

  • Write a journal, short story, poetry, ect.

  • Practice playing an instrument or sing.

  • Watch a movie or television series.

  • Read a book or other materials.

  • Clean house to include spring cleaning, organizing junk drawers and other areas of the house.

  • Sew, knit, crochet or other crafts.

  • Exercise by using videos online or on an old DVD or VHS tape.

  • Color.

  • Make a list of what you are grateful for.

  • A scavenger hunt.

  • Learn a new skill.

  • Learn a new language.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at jennifer.kraus@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.