Entering the third year of the pandemic, no one saw the library industry changes coming. With in-person programs and events still uncertain, how do library partnerships evolve? Read on for tips your team can use to thrive with change. During and after Covid, libraries will need to bounce back and be relevant with programs more than ever before.
As the pandemic drags on, your library should be in regular contact with your community partners. Zoom and Teams should be your best friend, to connect with leaders and your stakeholders. School Districts, Civic and other organizations have varying levels of safety protocols. Always error on the side of caution and meet up virtually with your partners.
Keep in touch with mutual goals, benchmarks, or patron data that might need analyzing. “Back to normal” might never happen, so keeping abreast of your partners’ new goals and interests is key right now.
Attend annual events safely
If the virus is not a threat in your community and you can safety attend in-person annual events, do it! Nothing takes the place of “face time” and meeting with your partners. This also applies to new partners your library was cultivating before the pandemic.
Keeping the pipeline full of potential new partners with similar community goals is vital especially now. Think beyond your normal partnerships and look at new bonds you can form. Is there a new literacy organization or an arm from the American Rescue Plan that would work with your library’s strategic plan? Now is the time to get creative and seek these groups out.
Seek Out New Partners
Like pre-pandemic, your team will still need to reach out and connect with new schools, faith-based organizations, and other partners. With the building quieter and less foot traffic, meet with internal departments in your city or university to find common ground.
Does the city need a new recreation space or social service? This might be the lifeline the library needs to provide a needed service for the community. Libraries are now providing onsite Covid testing and take-home tests. Don’t leave anything off the table if your library can support a needed service now.
Getting a jump start on new partnerships and maintaining current ones should be library leadership’s priority. It’s never too late to have alternative plans ready if your senior leadership needs the library to expand services. Be ready and be prepared, especially during this time of post pandemic usage.
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