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Regional library association helps extend digital offerings

As regional businesses and organizations remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association is helping increase access to online library materials by boosting funding for digital platforms, according to a SMRLA press release.

The funding will help support 24/7 access to e-books, audiobooks, streaming movies, TV shows and more while libraries are closed and library customers follow government guidance on social distancing.

The funding will go toward the digital services Overdrive and Hoopla. Overdrive allows library customers to borrow and read free e-books, audiobooks and magazines using a phone or a tablet. Each county library system curates a custom collection of titles developed specifically for the community. Through Hoopla, customers can borrow movies, music, audiobooks, e-books, comics and TV shows to enjoy on a computer, tablet or phone.

The library systems of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties have increased the number of digital items that can be checked out at one time, delayed the due dates of materials and extended renewals of library cards. New customers can get 90-day, temporary e-library cards to use for digital materials/resources through a “Get a Card” link on library websites, according to the press release.

Charles County libraries offer free WiFi access from their parking lots. Library websites include lists of local resources ranging from health information and employment assistance to free virtual activities to help residents get through these tough times.

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Formed in 1959, SMRLA supports the three Southern Maryland library systems with coordinated services. SMRLA operates the tri-county circulation and online catalog system known as COSMOS, or Collections of Southern Maryland’s On-Line System; provides access to downloadable books, ebooks, online research and information resources, and other free electronic services; runs the region’s interlibrary loan system for books and materials; and organizes in-service training for library staff.

For more information about the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association, visit

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