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With COVID-19, libraries quickly pivoted to move their programs and events online. The early months were about figuring out "the how" and getting new routines in place; now it is time to find meaningful ways to evaluate and assess the success of what we are offering.
Just counting attendance will never tell a holistic story of whether a program succeeded or failed. There is so much more data that we can collect to tell a complete story about library programming to funders and board members, to prepare to apply for grants, and to plan for the future.
Deaf Storyslam is a free community event, created in 2019, in which Deaf individuals of varying backgrounds share personal stories and experiences with the broader community. The 2nd Annual Deaf StorySlam happened in September 2020 with new tellers and stories but with a virtual twist.
The 2020 Deaf Storyslam included storytelling coaching for Deaf community members and three free virtual public ASL storytelling workshops leading up to the Storyslam.
Partnerships with community organizations can often enhance the financial literacy programming that libraries can offer their patrons themselves.
I have been trying to write this blog post for weeks. The more time that goes by, the more guilt I feel. The powers that be at ALA are going to lose their patience with me, I tell myself. One post a month is not that huge of a commitment — just send it already! I frequently feel this crushing sense of guilt about a lot of things, particularly this year, and I don’t think I’m alone.
Document your Story: COVID-19 Pandemic Project Archive brought together three community organizations to collect and preserve material created during COVID-19 from many different perspectives. This project has collected material from a variety of community members, such as local artists, diarists, the local business community, Muncie citizens, and Ball State University students, faculty and staff.
Prior to COVID-19, we talked about creating a junior art show that would be shown in our library's community room. Unfortunately, all of our community rooms closed to the public for safety reasons and we could no longer use them for programming.
I found that the most appropriate and safest way to display the talents of our young artists was through a virtual art show!
The kids would get recognition and get to display their art in a safe virtual environment that mimics a real gallery experience.
As we look to fall 2020 and our start to the school year, one thing is certain: it will be like no other start we have experienced before. Many districts have already decided to begin the year virtually, and others are sure to follow. Districts starting with a hybrid model of mixed virtual and face-to-face learning will also face challenges that we have not yet encountered.
Welp. After writing a post just a few months ago about my anxiety surrounding re-opening, my library is now closed … for a second time. We closed in March, then opened again in mid-May, after the governor declared that libraries were among the first wave of places allowed to re-open.
All seemed fine at first: our toys were put away, the computers were appointment-only, and everyone was encouraged to grab their materials (after sanitizing) and then leave.
The goal of the Silly Sidewalk Obstacle Course is to provide a sense of liberation and fun while emphasizing the importance of wellness during these unprecedented COVID-19 times.
Upon completion of the course, patrons can enter the library and salute the librarians to be entered in a raffle for a silly prize. Our obstacle course has proven to be popular among all age groups in the community.
National History Day (NHD) projects have been part of our collaborative library programming for years. They are a great way for students to learn the research process in a deep and meaningful manner, meeting many National School Library Standards. It's also a great way for students to practice the various literacies: news, information, media and digital.
Before COVID-19, the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library adult programming team periodically would discuss how we could offer a virtual component to accompany our in-person library programming. Could we livestream our larger events to an overflow space within the library? What would be the best way to record some of our programs and make them available to the public afterwards? These questions were discussed, with varying degrees of urgency, for months.
Science @ Home! is a weekly program that demonstrates simple science projects with everyday objects that children can do at home, combined with an explanation of how the science behind the project works. The program debuted on April 6, 2020, and is tentatively scheduled to run through the end of August.
The idea for Science @ Home! came just after the library closed to the public. Staff had filmed a couple of virtual storytimes the day before staff was sent home, so we had about a week of virtual programs ready.
The Reading Creativity Crate program is the socially distanced solution to our summer reading program. Many of our patrons love and rely on summer reading so we knew we had to make it work.
Based on the model for subscription crates, patrons can choose a box according to their age group. The box contains books, craft materials and a variety of resources that cover two weeks of summer reading activities.
We have five crates to choose from: pre-K, 1st-4th grade, 5th-8th grade, 9th-12th grade and adult.
Dream Careers is a teen-initiated, teen-led series designed to increase awareness on a variety of careers choices. The program helps teens research career paths while speaking with a chosen guest.
On May 5 we had our kickoff event via Zoom with virologist Ken Stedman. Dr. Stedman studies viruses found in extreme environments, and the teens wanted to hear from him in light of the pandemic. Our next Dream Careers will be with a chef and restaurant owner.