The Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., will remain closed for regular business until at least May 4, in accordance with Gov. Mike DeWine's stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus -- but it is offering virtual programming instead.

It also is in the process of rescheduling its signature event, the Community Author Series, which this year was to feature best-selling author Susan Orlean, said library director Ben Heckman.

The Community Author Series, an annual event that brings a nationally recognized author to Bexley, originally was scheduled April 21 at Capital University's Mees Hall.

"While we are disappointed to cancel Ms. Orlean's visit in April, the health and safety of our patrons, staff and community will always come first," Heckman said in a statement. "We look forward to hosting Ms. Orlean later in the year when we are all able to safely gather and welcome her."

The library is looking at potential dates in the fall to reschedule the event, but planning hinges on direction from the governor and health officials about when public gatherings can resume, said Paige Sifford Bilotta, the library's director of advancement and community relations.

"We're listening closely to government officials about how to keep everyone safe," she said.

"All options are on the table at this point."

To keep patrons engaged during the closure, the library has launched BPL Interactive, with virtual programs presented by staff members on the library's social-media platforms. They can be accessed at the library's website, bexleylibrary.org, Bilotta said.

The programming includes preschool story times, movie recommendations and trivia.

"We discussed ways to connect with our patrons and bring a little more familiarity and regularity back to our daily routines," she said.

In addition to the virtual programming, the library offers online materials ranging from eBooks to research databases.

"I believe our digital downloads have doubled," Bilotta said. "All of our online resources and our databases are experiencing upticks in use."

In addition, the library extended from March 27 to April 10 the deadline for Franklin County artists to submit original artwork, paintings, prints, photographs and mixed-media pieces to be included in the first Bexley Art Library. Fifteen pieces of artwork will be chosen through a juried selection process and added to the library's circulating collection. An exhibit of the 15 works selected is still tentatively scheduled in July, with an opening date to be announced, Bilotta said.

"I don't know whether we're going to have to push the launch date out," she said.

The library's website also features a coronavirus resources page with information such as how to file for unemployment, where to find meals for children and how to volunteer.

The library is asking patrons to document their experiences living through the coronavirus quarantine by uploading selfies to the page.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews