FOPL will be adding to these resources and updating regularly at our FOPL OpenMediaDesk Facebook Group.  

Hundreds of potential fun and educational resources for website and social media links are suggested there for all ages of our communities.

Any Ontario library staff or board member is welcome to join this closed group.  Here’s the link:

Most of our public library systems in Ontario and beyond are closed as a COVID-19 precaution.

Of course, that doesn’t mean our services stop and our value to our communities is temporarily suspended.  In some ways our value can increase as long as we take the opportunity to communicate digitally through our websites, e-mail, and social media.  With all publicly funded schools in Ontario closed and most colleges, universities, galleries, sports and recreation facilities, and museums we have a lot of people working from home, quarantining themselves or on an extended 3-week school break.  Indeed with our high digital ROI and strong infrastructure, our digital branches are usually our largest branch!

Public Libraries can be there for social and educational support and isolation/boredom reduction.

Here are some ideas (please add all of your great ideas (with URLs if possible) in the comments on this post!)

Westport Public Library’s brilliant LibGuides
Stuck at Home: with So Much To Do!

Canadian children’s writers & illustrators are sharing readings of their books online


25 sources of free public domain books

Encourage virtual museum tours.  There are hundreds so you may want to break these up into a couple of daily timed posts.

You Can Virtually Tour These 500+ Museums and Galleries From Your Couch

No travel required: 10 iconic museums you can tour online

No travel required: 10 iconic museums you can tour online

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections

“If you’re a museum tech enthusiast looking to be part of the conversation, join one of MCN’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs). They are currently free for non-members so more can share resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This list will be continually updated with examples of museum and museum-adjacent virtual awesomeness. It is by no means exhaustive. Share more with us at @museumcn on Twitter!”

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections


Curated art and gallery sites, lessons, and tours.

5 Art Museum Websites with Fantastic and Free Educational Resources

Ontario Museum  Digital Outreach During Closures

Digital tools can allow museums to reach out to audiences despite closures and social distancing practices. Some Ontario examples are below:

  • St. Catharines Museum will post activities on their Facebook Page HERE.
  • Bata Shoe Museum is releasing daily colouring sheets on their website HERE.
  • Brockville Museum highlighted their digital collections on Twitter HERE.
  • Osgoode Township Museum offered “to-go” kits of activities that had been prepared for March Break
  • Bytown Museum showcased their virtual tour HERE.

Several Ontario museums are also available for 3D virtual tours, including:

Encourage colouring since that’s a little educational too:

Ontario’s Trails – walking outside is the safest exercise

Find a Trail in Ontario

Ontario Trail Maps:

Here you will find on-road and off-road cycling routes, cycling loops with descriptions, hiking and walking trails, and much more in a set of easy-to-read full colour regional maps.

Five Gardens You Can Virtually Tour, Just in Time for the First Day of Spring
Our list ranges from Claude Monet’s garden in France to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden to Waddesdon Manor in England.
Paris Museums Put 100,000 Images Online for Unrestricted Public Use
The Social Distancing Festival
Harry the Dirty Dog read by Betty White
Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed
You Can Now Binge-Watch Every Single Episode of The French Chef with Julia Child
The Metropolitan Opera Will Stream Operas for Free in Wake of Coronavirus

The Paris Opera is screening its performances online for free

From March 17, the Paris Opera is offering its most beautiful shows, from Swan Lake to Don Giovanni, free online.
Google now lets you explore U.S. National Parks via 360-degree virtual tours

BroadwayHD Is Letting You Watch Your Favorite Musicals For Free — For a Limited Time (Video)

Watch hit musicals like Kinky Boots and 42nd Street right from your living room.
I like when they go by the unstaffed Information Desk and PCs 😎
Adorable Penguins Let Loose in an Empty Aquarium and Immediately Assessed the Fish Situation
Sue takes a cue from Shedd’s penguins, strolls around closed Field Museum
Quill & Quire
Publishers host special offers and discounts as Canadians isolate

There’s a massive free catalogue of Indigenous films online — and we have 6 picks to get you started


Stay home: Learn Cree – Introducing Yourself






Steal some ideas from Greenville:

Coronavirus: Virtual Learning and Fun Things to Do

Global TV: Home for coronavirus: What to do with your kids during the outbreak

Home for coronavirus: What to do with your kids during the outbreak

Other topics to research and share with your community:

  1. Homeschooling (Khan Academy and its ilk)
  2. Exercising at home
  3. Board Games
  4. Structured outdoor games (Remember Relievio? Hopscotch, Skipping, etc.  Channel your own kid-hood!)
  5. Age- and grade-appropriate workbooks or other school-oriented items that you can print off from the internet.
  6. Recipes children can do with supervision
  7. Of course, e-books, audiobooks, videogames, e-magazines, etc.
  8. Your idea here and in the comments

Again, keep your library relevant in this evolving situation!