MOUNT GILEAD — Like various other education, arts and cultural entities across the nation, the Mount Gilead Public Library has been closed for the past several weeks because of the COVID-19 shutdown of nonessential businesses.

That doesn’t mean the demand for the library’s services has gone away, but the facility’s staff has had few options for responding to the needs of its patrons with its doors closed. That changed on April 15 as the library began issuing eCards, which allow holders to access its online resources, including downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.

Mike Kirk, the library’s director, said the launch of the eCard program is something that the staff has been focusing its efforts on for weeks.

“This is something we’ve been working toward,” he said. “It’s been on our wish list to make it happen.”

Any Ohio resident who doesn’t already have a COOL Library card, can apply for an eCard by visiting the library website ( and clicking on the “Sign up for an eCard” link. Those seeking a card will need to provide their name, address, email address and date of birth.

The process is designed to take just minutes and will result in an eCard number within 48 hours.

Those who hold a Mount Gilead Public Library card already have access to the online services and don’t need to apply for an eCard, Kirk added.

Kirk noted the development of the eCard program was a direct response to public demand. Any person with a current smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer and an internet connection can use their eCard to access millions of titles.

“While we’ve been closed, we’ve heard from people wanting to use our online resources,” he said, adding the library staff expects a lot of patrons to take advantage of the new offering.

The ability to download audiobooks and e-books through the Overdrive portal is perhaps the main service offered to eCard holders. Kirk noted the library has a significant collection of titles and continues to add titles while the closure is still in effect.

Kirk encouraged anyone who doesn’t already have a library card to register for an eCard. This includes children under the age of 18, with parents permission, who are looking to read more books while they are out of school.

“Check out our online resources,” he said. “I think you’re going to be really surprised at what we have.”

Submitted story