Navigating COVID-19 uncertainty


photo of a woman thinking and looking at a laptop screen

When there is a lot of uncertainty in the world, it can be challenging to know where to turn or how to recognize that what you are reading, seeing, or hearing is accurate. Find comfort in knowing that the library is a trusted source to help you navigate through and connect to high-quality information. This past summer alone, library staff logged 17,354 questions, which we answered in-person, over the phone, via email, or through our online chat service. We love helping people and even if we don’t know the answer to a question, we can point you in the right direction.

News regarding the novel coronavirus is ubiquitous. With all that’s being shared out there, it’s helpful to take a moment to self-reflect, be kind to others, and combat potential stigmas resulting from misinformation. To gather reliable facts, we recommend checking Princeton’s Health Department or New Jersey’s Department of Health. You can call 800-222-1222, a free 24-hour public hotline, or email ncov@doh.nj.gov, to reach trained healthcare professionals. The Center for Disease Control can provide helpful information such as how the virus spreads, prevention methods, testing, and the effect on both the U.S. and the world. Twitter accounts are available for both the NJ Department of Health (https://twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth) and CDC (https://twitter.com/CDCgov).
Our website offers links to a few databases for other useful health resources. The American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries has compiled a list of cleaning products that have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as effective during the COVID-19 outbreak. And to spot fake news, analyze the date, author, and biases of the material, and use fact-checking websites like Snopes.com, FactCheck.org, or PolitiFact.com to ensure you are connecting with reliable and accurate sources.

You may also find that during these times,  you are having trouble managing your stress, anxiety, and mental health. If you are looking for someone to talk to, Psychology Today is an excellent resource for finding therapists in your area and allows you to narrow your search based on insurance coverage, presenting issues, faith, language, gender, and more. Local organizations in our community, including All Access Mental Health, Princeton House Behavioral Health, and Princeton Health Services, can also provide you with access to services.

On a lighter note, we know that diving into books or media is sometimes the easiest way to take your mind off of tough times. We have some great recommendations for books to make you smile in both fiction and nonfiction. And with your library card, you have free, remote access to thousands of digital materials, including ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers, music, movies and tv, language learning, and online courses

Finally, to learn more about how the library is a trusted source for information, visit our exhibit “Civics Matters: A Place for Fact-Based Dialogue” on the first floor of the library, now through April 3. You will learn how we can connect you with trustworthy information every day, test your ability to recognize fake news, contribute to a community crossword puzzle, and take home bookmarks with resources on a variety of topics.


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