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Alyssa Denneler has been hosting hybrid events for more than four years as an assistant librarian at Indiana University Bloomington. During that time, she has learned that, although planning hybrid programs comes with some extra steps, the outcomes are usually worth the effort.
Last spring, Indiana University Bloomington launched a virtual exhibit that was accompanied by an in-person program and exhibition. Naturally, attendees of online and in-person events had different experiences; that's to be expected, Denneler says.
Inspiration Place is an adult craft series that met exclusively on Zoom from May 2020 to January 2022 and averaged 15 attendees per session. April 2022 was the first time a hybrid option was offered, allowing patrons the choice of attending on Zoom or in-person. Out of the 20 registered, 3 attended in-person and 17 virtually.
Libraries provide educational programming, a welcoming space, and access to computers and internet connection. This last point has become increasingly important during the pandemic, especially for libraries serving rural areas. In order to safely continue serving their communities, they have faced both the obstacles of switching to virtual programming and ensuring people can access it, on what is often a tiny budget.