Did you know it’s National Library Week? Yeah. Kind of a dud this year given that libraries across the country are closed. I’m hearing from a lot of people who miss going to the library . . . and I don’t just mean my colleagues and I! If anything it’s giving me a good feeling to know that libraries are as relevant as always, even when we are exclusively virtual.
Here are 3 things libraries are doing right now to make a difference:
- Making collections available virtually. You can read the first Harry Potter book right now with no restrictions. You can access Ancestry from home. You can read magazines and listen to audiobooks and download ebooks. I realize some of this varies depending on your library’s budget but if my rural library community has these things I’m betting yours does, too.
- Using 3-D printers to create PPE. This is a case where my library isn’t involved (no 3-D printer for us) but libraries around us and across the country are helping out by making face shields and mask straps. It’s an amazing thing to see technology repurposed and used to make a difference.
- This last one is a catch all of all the fantastic things libraries are doing: extending due dates, encouraging people to use WiFi in their parking lots, offering online programming and virtual events, relaxing rules around obtaining a virtual library card, using social media to engage patrons, and sharing resources and information from trusted sources.
I wish I could tell you that my library is doing all of those things but last week my entire staff, with the exception of myself, was furloughed. It was (and still is) a difficult time for all of us as we are a close group of 10 coworkers and we miss each other and our library patrons very much. I had a Zoom meeting last Thursday and gave my best effort at encouraging and uplifting all of them, hoping that this time will be over soon, and offering my best advice for navigating the unemployment process, but I was heartbroken and they were, too. These days when I’m at the library I’m there by myself and it’s very very quiet, something people always think is true of a library but generally isn’t true at all.
Ironic, isn’t it?
If you wrote a post for today please include your link below and thanks for joining me this Thursday.