We have lived through the last two years in pandemic mode with many changes including library services. We have seen service models change and new programs emerge. The needs of communities are at the forefront of these changes, along with health and safety. So, what do programs look like now, with COVID-19 and health risks still in the foreground for many libraries? Let’s look at some successes.
If you are lucky to live in a climate where in-person library programs can be held outside, patrons can have a new service model outdoors. Customers enjoy storytimes, school-age crafts, or book clubs social distanced for safety. However, programs are very engaging. If your climate is too warm or snowy, then an alternative has been a hybrid format. Producing online programs streamed via Zoom or prerecorded. This has become popular with many libraries.
Prerecorded Library Programs
Other libraries have great success and attendance with recording programs and posting the links. Posting within a Facebook post is also a great way to host a pre-recorded program. The advantage of prerecorded story times is easy editing and a way for the librarian to overcome nerves. Having your program recorded allows the flexibility to fix mistakes before posting. The link is available to update easily as your library changes. Plus the needs of your audience will change too.
Online Library Gatherings
Finally, many public libraries have adapted to all online programs due to funding constraints or public health concerns. Whether prerecorded or live every week at a predetermined time, virtual programs are the safest way to provide literacy and learning to a community. However, the downside is the staff’s reliance of a live audience for immediate feedback.
You also must have a team that has the skills and technology available to produce engaging library programs. Your library staff will need to have a solid handle on the audience they’re serving and the devices available. Have a reliable solution available if technology fails. Furthermore, bandwidth might be an issue and would be a burden for your library users during online programs. Be sure to have solid solutions in place for every hiccup that could happen.