I recently reached out to some of my clients and colleagues for examples of how they are serving their communities during the pandemic. Here are a few of the examples I received.
Spartanburg County Public Libraries made it easier for people to access digital collections by allowing new customers to register for a “digital card” just by using their phone number. This allowed people to use OverDrive for ebooks and audiobooks without having to come into the library.
They also hosted a drive-in movie at their local fairgrounds over the summer, which drew about 120 cars. During the movie, they promoted digital cards on the screen. Community members in attendance expressed gratitude for thus safe opportunity to get out of the house with their families.
Like many libraries, Grosse Pointe had to adjust their Summer Reading program. They hosted socially distant parades where customers were invited to drive by, wave and honk to say hello to their librarians (who were dressed up as characters) and sign up for summer reading. At the end, they had another drive-by parade with Toy Story characters for participants.
They also started offering remote reader’s advisory via new services called “Book Bundles” for kids and “Book Buddies” for adults. For Book Bundles, parents fill out a brief form just call with the age(s) interests of their children, and library staff pull a bunch of books for them. For Book Buddies, adults fill out a brief form with the types of books they like, and they are partnered with a librarian with similar interests who recommends books for them. I really like this approach because of the personal connection created between the adult reader and the library staff member. Today, personal connections are more important than ever!
On LinkedIn, I stumbled across an offering from Kansas City Public Library called “Shelf Help.” Similar to “Bool Buddies,” this services provides reading recommendations via an online form or by phone. They will also help you pick out books to gift to your friends and family.
There are many, many more examples out there of great work that libraries are doing. If you are interested in further reading, here are some recommendations.
Article: “Programming Through the Pandemic” by Erica Freudenberger, Library Journal
Book: Pivoting during the Pandemic: Ideas for Serving Your Community Anytime, Anywhere, from ALA Editions