As librarians explore event formats in an increasingly virtual landscape, “hybrid” programs are an option that balance interactivity with access. This selection of resources includes pieces that discuss some of the benefits of a hybrid model, as well as individual libraries’ successes and challenges with their events.
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What can you do to ensure that your hybrid programs become standouts in your programming lineup? Try covering these three bases: promotion, delivery and evaluation.
Jeff Zeh and James Hutter of Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library reflect on the last two years of successes and failures they met while planning hybrid programs.
Watch the full webinar recording to learn more or read some of Zeh and Hutter's tips below.
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.
Authors Speak is a new virtual program at Madison Public Library for older adults that features a book talk and four or five workshops taught by a local author.
For the first workshop, Heather Williams presented her book “Drawing as a Sacred Activity” and then taught a five-week drawing basics workshop.
I developed a mindfulness story time curriculum during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing from my own experience using yoga as a coping mechanism, and based on my work as a children’s librarian.
I knew we were seeing unprecedented levels of stress among children, and while mindfulness webinars proliferated for staff and working adults, I wanted to think about ways in which I could bring concepts of mindfulness to existing children’s programming.
“Residents were used to being out and about; they came into the library for programs and read-alouds, they had off-campus jobs, they went to the movies and the pool. […] Unfortunately, once the pandemic came around, they became one of the most isolated groups in our community,” says Jolene Poore, director of Ada Public Library in Ada, Oklahoma.
"Wi-Fi hotspots have been a Godsend for our community,” says Brenda Cervantes, grants and special projects administrator at Yuma County Public Library in Arizona. “With no coffee shops or large shopping centers, there are essentially no spaces in the community that provide free Wi-Fi or internet service outside of the libraries.”
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.