Letter to the Community

Letter to the Community

Dear Residents of Frederick and Clarke Counties and Winchester City,

I’m writing today to provide an update on the operations and service availability of Handley Regional Library System.  The information in this letter has been carefully considered as we protect the health and safety of our staff and patrons due to COVID-19 – and reflect unified decisions made by Library staff and the Library System Board. 

As previously communicated, all library buildings are closed to the public, including to volunteers, and we have made the intentional decision to suspend online holds/reservations of materials.  We are also unable to accept book donations and returns of physical materials.  Our book drops and return bins are locked, so please carefully hold on to your borrowed materials until we can resume normal operations.

We also had to make the difficult decision of cancelling the Spring Used Book Sale managed by the Friends of the Handley Regional Library System.  We worked closely the Friends Board and with Barbara Dickinson, Executive Director of the Friends, to decide and communicate this disappointing news.  We are considering future options as books sales fund selected library programs and services system-wide. 

We recognize that the library system plays a critical role to the 130,000 residents in our service area. 

It’s important to note that we recognize that the library system is a critical asset to the communities we serve.  While books are at the heart of our everyday functioning at the library, Handley Regional Library System is so much more than books.  Our role is to connect people – regardless of their social and economic background – to information and entertainment through materials, programs, and digital content.  Our librarians and professional staff all have a heart to serve the community, and I’d like to officially thank our staff during this difficult time as they continue to provide access to services in new and innovative ways.

People depend on our librarians and professional staff every day.  As we are able, we are looking at ways to continue to deliver programs online.  Right now, our youth department has done a fantastic job at hosting virtual video game nights for teens, story times for families, Lego® Clubs, and more through Facebook and Instagram (@handleyregional).  The Stewart Bell Jr. Archives has launched recorded videos on genealogy research, and our program producers for adults are looking at ways to offer online programs. There are a lot of logistics involved in implementing these new formats and I am proud to work with such dedicated and creative individuals. 

Continued Access to Online Services and Resources

We will continue to provide access and support to online resources as able.  On our homepage, www.handleyregional.org, we have a blog post with a list of tips and resources for families – sample lesson plans, virtual museum tours, animal webcams, educational projects, coding for kids, author read-aloud sessions, and more, to use during this time. 

With your library card, I encourage you to utilize our digital library (also on our home page) for access to credible research databases, business and legal resources, job and career help, eBooks, movies, and more,

I’ve outlined a few resources below that our patrons have already asked for that may be of help.  Again, these are available on our website.

  • Hoopla Digital - online streaming of movies, TV, music, eBooks, audiobooks, and comics
  • RB Digital – magazines, audiobooks, and eBooks
  • Libby / Blue Ridge Download Consortium – a shared collection of eBooks and audiobooks
  • Universal Class – Online access to over 500 classes and subjects – from professional development, self-care, parenting, technology, business, and more. 
  • Scholastic Go! – Kids, teens, parents, and educators will have access to digital content, videos, newspapers, and more on core subjects and skills.
  • Niche Academy – Tutorial videos for our digital resources.

Getting Help

Our staffing levels are low right now – we have some staff in our buildings and others working remotely.  The best way to reach us is at information@handleyregional.org

Looking Forward

The library system was designed to provide access to information and services to everyone in nearly all situations.  We will keep you updated online and through the media as operations change.  You’ll also want to visit our website for immediate updates.

Our library buildings may be temporarily closed to the public, but our desire to serve the community lasts forever.  We look forward to opening our doors, teaching your children, helping you discover something new, connecting at a program – and more.  During this unprecedented time, please care for each other, support your local community, and help make a positive impact.  We are truly better together.


John Huddy, Director of Handley Regional Library System