For those at home, Chatham Libraries can still keep you connected

Posted 3/27/20

With Chatham County’s public libraries closed and more residents working from home than ever, one might think accessing books from the libraries’ catalogue would be impossible

Not …

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For those at home, Chatham Libraries can still keep you connected

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With Chatham County’s public libraries closed and more residents working from home than ever, one might think accessing books from the libraries’ catalogue would be impossible

Not so.

Library staff have been working to get resources online and ensure access for residents when many are living life increasingly from home, with just a Chatham County Library card, something you can now also get online.

"We want the community to know that even though the doors are closed we're still striving to provide services and and customer care," Rita Van Duinen, Branch Manager for the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro said. "We also don't want our community citizens to feel cut-off from the rest of the world. This is why we are continually pushing information via social media and electronic newsletters, email and by phone. "

Van Duinen said that the staff wants the community to know that the library is "so much more than a collection of books."

Libby app

The Chatham County Libraries employ Libby, an application that works as an interface to the library’s online repository. Libby users — whether through the mobile app or accessed through a web browser on a computer — allows library card holders to borrow e-books and digital audiobooks from the public library for free. Overdrive, the database that holds the library’s collection of e-books and e-magazines, has simple dropdown menus to see what books and audiobooks are available for checkout.

Instructions how to download the application can be found on the Chatham County Library’s website under the “Download e-books” tab. The database of available content is accessible by a desktop computer or laptop without downloading Libby app. But if you use a smartphone or an e-reader device, such as a Kindle, the Chatham County Library’s website provides detailed instructions on loading the application.

Smartphone users should go to their application options on their phones and search “Libby.” For e-reader devices and laptops, the instructions show how to access the “Overdrive” system. (Users may need to update the Adobe software on their laptops or desktops to access the information.)

When downloading on a phone, a simple prompt will walk you through the process of accessing the materials. Most require a library card, but residents can now get a card online.

Getting a library card

Many of the digital and online learning resources are available without having a Chatham County library card. But if you need one, residents can now apply online for a library card by going to And it you’ve already applied for a card, but lost your number, you can call the Chatham Community Library at 919-545-8084 — the library is staffed despite being closed — and they will provide it to you.

All you need to get a Chatham County library card is to be at least 5 years old and live in Chatham, Alamance, Durham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Randolph or Wake County. Also, anyone who works in Chatham County despite living outside the county can get a library card. Students in Chatham County Schools also have access to the library’s online accounts through their ChathamPASS program using the PowerSchool ID.

After submitting an application, library staff will contact you to issue you a library account number. Previously, this had been done in person. Once libraries reopen for public use, in-person access, those who applied online will be able to pick up a physical card with a valid photo ID in order to borrow on-site materials.

Other digital and online resources

The staff at the Chatham County Libraries have continued to work even as public access to the facilities has ceased. There are a wealth of resources, updated regularly, to provide the public with services. Some require a Chatham County library cars while others are free and open to public access.

These resources, which can be found on the Chatham County Library’s website, include movies, arts and culture, reading and education sites. Sites for resources are updated regularly and available for use — some require a library card, while others do not.

Each of the libraries in Chatham — Wren Library in Siler City, Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro and the Goldston Library — should have internet access for residents from their parking lots. But access to online materials doesn’t stop with internet. Internet access should be labeled with “guest” and available for public use.

Van Duinen urges everyone to get a library card because of all the things it has to offer.

"In the words of Andrew Carnegie, 'A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people,'" Van Duinen said. "In times of crisis, libraries are considered a safe and inviting place, a place for learning and sharing experience. Even with the doors shuttered we can still serve our community in this way. Give us a call or send an email and follow us on social media."

To follow updates on what the Chatham County Libraries are doing, follow their social media sites at: Facebook:, Instagram:, and Twitter: The Chatham County Library website is:

Casey Mann can be reached at


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